Impact Culture

As you approach the finishing line for REF2021, are you wondering how you can build more a more vibrant and healthy impact culture, that is driven more by the ingenuity and passion of your research community than it is by REF? 

REF-driven impact cultures happen by default. Healthy impact cultures happen on purpose. 


The Impact Culture course from Fast Track Impact enables you to co-create an impact culture with your colleagues that draws people to impact on their own terms, whether they want to create jobs or fight capitalism. These are cultures that celebrate the kinds of “unsung impacts” that inspire us despite never becoming an impact case study. Yet, they are also cultures that generate case studies without being REF-driven.

  • Start by forming your culture from the bottom up: explore how your personal impact priorities emerge at the intersection between your professional identity and your values, and identify personal and institutional actions that could enable you to achieve those priorities. 

  • Consider how you perform your impact culture: identify your spheres of influence and levels of trust within and beyond your academic community, and think beyond current impacts to identify new benefits, for example working with hard-to-reach groups or sector-hopping

  • Harness external drivers and management structures to feed your impact community in ways that are consistent with their values, beliefs and norms, identifying creative new mechanisms that build trust 

  • Build a Theory of Change with personal actions you can take to build a healthier impact culture, whilst identifying institutional actions that could facilitate those changes

  • Write a postcard to your future self and to your University management team with the most important changes you want to see, and receive your card in the post a month later as a reminder of the journey you have embarked on


The course draws on the research and experience of Prof Mark Reed, who trains internationally and has advised on impact in every Russel Group institution and the majority of other research active Universities in the UK. He is the author of two books on research and impact culture, The Research Impact Handbook and The Productive Researcher, and has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles that have been cited >15,000 times. Copies of The Research Impact Handbook available on request at no additional cost for participants (request this when you  book the course), and Prof Reed answers all queries from participants within a week, to ensure you have support to change your impact culture for the better. 

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There are two versions of the course:

  1. Full impact culture course: includes group exercises to identify shared values and link these to priority actions that could build community and trust, and enhance research and impact within your institution, and provides time for participants to develop a personal Theory of Change to sequentially link actions that can enable them to be part of a more healthy and vibrant impact culture

  2. Half day impact culture course with REF impact case study review: includes all the key content and exercises from the impact culture course in the morning, with an opportunity to discuss your impact case studies with Prof Reed in the afternoon. This is done in an impact surgery session in which case study authors raise challenges which Prof Reed initially answers before bringing in ideas from the wider group, followed by an evidence session with a brief guide to monitoring and evaluating impact and a “how would you prove that” question and answer session, looking at some of the most difficult to evaluate impacts. Delegates are given access to papers by Prof Reed, Bella Reichard and others on what made a 4* impact case study in REF2014 and impact evaluation methods, and individual case study reviews can be provided at extra cost in collaboration with Bella Reichard. 

  3. Two-day retreat: significant additional time for personal and group reflection, including walking exercises and evening meal. Ideal for research groups and departments who want to refresh their mission and build their team 

Impact Culture Screenshot.png

Full course-

Sample agenda

REF and impact culture Screenshot.png

Half-day course-

Sample agenda


Full day workshop for up to 30 people: £2800 + VAT


30 participants (including email support for all participants from Prof Reed) = £2800 + VAT (£93 + VAT per head – minimum order)

40 (with email support for all participants) = £3100 + VAT (£78 + VAT per head)

50 (with email support for all participants) = £3400 + VAT (£68 + VAT per head)

60 (with email support for all participants) = £3700 + VAT (£62 + VAT per head)


For trainings in the UK there are no additional travel/accommodation charges, but for some overseas destinations we add a small surcharge to cover travel costs.


Contact us to arrange a call from Prof Reed to discuss how exactly the training can be adapted to meet your needs.


Read our Terms and Conditions.

Everything you need to know about the final REF2021 guidance on impact in less than a minute

August 29, 2019

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Everything you need to know about the final REF2021 guidance on impact in less than a minute

August 29, 2019

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