Influencing policy
Online course


All our courses can be run as 1 hour, 90 minute and 2 hour stand-alone online courses or arranged as a weekly or monthly series. Set up a call to discuss how we can adapt this course to your needs.

Our online courses are just as interactive as any face-to-face training. They are specially designed so you get more engagement in ways that are not possible when everyone is in the same room together. Online courses are a great way to keep colleagues connected and inspired.

Since Fast Track Impact launched in 2013, it has become the most widely used resource to train researchers in impact around the world, having been used by over 200 institutions in 55 countries to date. We have regularly trained researchers in every Russell Group university and the majority of other research-active institutions.”



Course Description

This course is based on research by Prof Reed and the latest evidence on how to get research evidence into policy. Drawing on his own research and extensive experience working with UK and overseas Governments and the United Nations, Prof Reed takes a unique relational approach to working with policy-makers that can be adapted to any Government or organization. 


The course starts with tools to plan policy impacts more effectively and efficiently, before introducing tools for policy briefs, with an exercise to consider how to create an effective brief. Then, Prof Reed considers how researchers can go beyond their contribution to consultations and inquiries to affect change from the bottom up and the top down via more informal channels. The course gives participants an opportunity to debate and consider their own ethical boundaries, so they are able to safely become more relational and hence more impactful without crossing red lines. The session concludes with a consideration of how to evidence impacts of research on policy.

Key benefits:

  • Discover quick and easy tools you can use immediately to:

  • Prioritise which policy actors to engage with first and how to instantly get their attention.

  • Create a powerful impact plan that will guarantee your research makes a difference without wasting your time

  • Learn how to design an effective policy brief.

  • Pitch evidence-based policy options powerfully in meetings and seminars.

  • Learn how to get your research into policy, wherever you work in the world, by building trust and working with intermediaries.

  • Track, evaluate and evidence policy impacts, discovering time-efficient ways to keep track of impacts as they arise, and design an impact evaluation that convincingly attributes impacts to your research. 

  • Be inspired by primary research and case studies that illustrate each point.

What does our training include?


We spend time with you before we train to ensure our workshops are tailored to the needs of your group. Our training includes:

  • Prof Reed works with every group.

  • Each participant gets a pdf copy of Prof Reed’s acclaimed Research Impact Handbook and an e-handout pack with editable worksheets. Hard copies are available for any participant who would like one. Simply email to request a copy sent directly to your home address.

  • Configure your training as a full-day event or as two individually bookable half-day events.

  • Sessions run via Zoom which does not require any software (just an internet browser), enabling colleagues to join easily from home. Breaks are generous, so people can pace themselves effectively.

  • Two main modes of group interaction:

    • Small group is done via Zoom’s break-out room function, with key insights reported back in plenary to the wider group. 

    • Plenary discussion is done via Zoom’s chat function in a two-part process. First everyone is asked to comment via chat (e.g. provide an answer to a provocative question, or ask a question of their own). Second, a sample of these is used to facilitate further in-depth discussion via commentary from Mark, followed by an open-mic session for those who want to take the discussion further.

  • Additional learning and interaction you can't get face-to-face, for example:

    • You get more engagement in plenary discussion than is possible face-to-face because everyone is asked to write an answer to the discussion point (or pose their own question) before discussion commences, rather than just the few who have time (and courage) to speak. 

    • It is possible to get more out of some exercises where those speaking are able to share their screen with the whole group. 

    • New individual exercises enable participants to go deeper into course content linked to their own research.


We pride ourselves on the quality of our follow-up with participants, ensuring they are able to apply what they learn to transform their practice:

  • Online courses feature additional individual follow-up after each training. Participants are invited to write actions they commit to doing within a month, based on the course, which we email back to them exactly 1 month later, increasing the likelihood that actions are completed.

  • In the follow-up email after a month, participants are invited to reply to get help applying what they learned if they have not completed their intended actions. If they use our system, we guarantee a response within a week to all questions with no time limit and no restriction on the number of questions that can be asked.

  • Everyone gets an email via the course organiser (including those who do not wish to share their email with us) with links to slides and a reminder about how to get support from Prof Reed.

  • Everyone is also invited to join a free follow-up programme over five weeks, to apply what they have learned in their research. They can work through these steps themselves from the handbook, but by signing up to take these steps online, they get access to extra material. Each week consists of a 6 minute video with accompanying text and tasks.

What does a typical day look like?

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View course slides

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What are people saying about this course?

"[Doing the course online was] really useful and engaging.”


“Inspirational day”


"I learned a lot about good ways of doing online delivery and the functionality that Zoom has!"

“I enjoyed getting more honest insights on influencing policy – not just doing it all “by the book””


“I loved the practical tips based on Mark’s experience.” 


“I liked the focus on risks and ethics”


“I will now try to cultivate relationships with policy makers”


“I will think harder about the policy process the work is feeding into”


“I will think more carefully about how to draft policy briefings”


“The examples of impact pathways and policy briefs were useful”


“Q&A periods were fab. Loved the self-depreciating anecdotes and instances of failure as well as success. Policy discussion exercises were fun. Excellent day – thanks.”


“I will change how I plan to influence policy change”


“I will contact knowledge brokers to identify policy makers”


“I am going to organise a range of policy impact activities. I will read the book more and apply what is useful.”


“I will be more confident/proactive in terms of presenting my research to relevant policy makers”


“Was good to see some examples and actually start a plan/have a template to act upon/refer to.”


"I've learned how to be strategic [about impact] and ask myself hard questions." 


"Fantastic handbook. Great, enthusiastic trainer. Thank you very much."


“I love the book and the fact that it was run by a researcher"


“Great course, just as useful as the book. Thanks! Highly recommend.”


"Wonderfully insightful, useful and energising."




Half-day workshop £1500 +VAT for 30-40 participants

Includes free hard copies of The Research Impact Handbook sent to each participant’s home address. 


90 minute workshops £750 +VAT for 30-40 participants

Includes PDF copies of The Research Impact Handbook. You can add hard copies of the books for your participants at additional cost.


Read our Terms and Conditions.

We've trained >8000 researchers from >200 institutions in 55 countries: