New: REF2021 resources


Everything you need to write an impact case study for REF2021…

The Fast Track Impact Podcast


The podcast for researchers who want to be more productive and achieve real-world impacts from their research. Every week, Mark Reed gives you practical tips and discusses how you can enhance the impact of your research, based on the latest research. 


Subscribe via iTunes or browse episodes here.

What is research impact?

According to Prof Mark Reed, “research impact is the good that researchers can do in the world”. Read this explainer or watch him explain here: 


Watch the full, wide-ranging interview with Prof Reed here to learn about how to make your research accessible to the right people and develop a successful impact strategy:
Save time with these research impact tools and templates


Stakeholder and public analysis template



Read the instructions and watch the video here (or read the advanced guide here).

Impact planning template including a worked example

(Word | PDF)


Read the instructions and watch the video here (or if you're feeling more adventurous, find out how to develop a Theory of Change for your project)

Social media strategy template

(Word | PDF)


Impact tracking template 

(Word PDF)


Be inspired with these examples of good practice


Good practice examples of UK impact case studies: a selection of the highest rated (4*) case studies submitted to the UK's 2014 Research Excellence Framework

Good practice examples of Australian impact case studies: all 277 high-rated case studies from the Australian Research Council’s Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018-19. 

Take our free online training course


This course will help you fast track the impact of your research, no matter what career stage or discipline you are in. It will inspire and equip you with the skills and confidence you need to make a step change in the impact of your research. It takes around 10-20 minutes to work through the course materials each week over 5 weeks, and anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours to complete each week's tasks. This gives you time to apply what you learn to your own research. 

Find out more

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Unsung impacts


Read about inspiring impacts that will never be celebrated by any University, based on the entries to the Fast Track Impact Unsung Impact Prize 2019.

Media impact Guide and Toolkit

Our guide for University press offices to enable researchers to generate real-world impacts from the opportunities that arise from media coverage, evaluate the significance of impact from media coverage and work more effectively with professional services impact teams to provide a more integrated service to researchers.


Read research impact guides


Our essential series of "how to" guides for researchers, designed to help you embed impact in your work:


Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021)

Take a short-cut to the final guidance on impact, get the lastest intelligence and read our guide on how to write a 4* impact case study based on the most rigorous research conducted to date on high versus low-scoring case studies from 2014:


Presenting with impact

How do you get an audience to actually do something based on your evidence? Everything you’ll wish you’d learned at the start of your career about how to speak with impact. Read the guide or watch the videos to delve deeper into each of the five points.”

Read the online version

How to get commercially sensitive data to evidence economic impacts from research

If your research has been commercialized in some way, then you may be asked to evidence the economic benefits arising from your work. Economic claims are harder to evidence than you might think, because many companies are nervous about sharing commercially sensitive data. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In this guide, we’ve suggested a few things that might get you something useful.  

Read the online version

View the PDF (for printing)


How to make an impact plan for your research

Find out how to make an impact plan for your next research project. Whether you are writing a grant proposal or making a plan for a funded project or research group, this guide will show you how to use the Fast Track Impact planning template to make a plan quickly and easily.  

Read the online version


How to do stakeholder analysis

Find out how to identify publics and stakeholders who might be interested in your research and prioritize them for engagement with this guide, based around the Fast Track Impact stakeholder analysis template  

Quick version

Advanced version


How to develop a Theory of Change for a research project

Most resources for Theory of Change start with a development project or intervention, but if you are starting with research, this guide will help you develop a research-based Theory of Change. This can enable you to identify if there are parts of your research that do not underpin impact, so you can identify new impacts and activities, or redesign the research to deliver more impact. You can use this guide yourself to develop a Theory of Change, or you can use it co-productively to do this in collaboration with in-country partners.

Read the online version


How to start a newsletter that will get read and generate impact from your research

Find out why starting a newsletter might drive more impact from your research than engaging with social media, and get 6 tips for creating a newsletter that people look forward to reading and act upon.

Read the online version

Evidencing impact from media engagement

Find out how to evaluate impacts arising from media engagement, by planning impacts with indicators you can track, or via social media analysis, the funnel approach or by using before/after polling data.

View the PDF (for printing)

Read the online version


How to evidence the impact of Continuing Professional Development and other training based on your research

Training is an effective way go building and enabling others to generate impact from your research at scale. This short guide gives you 5 steps to capture the impacts arising from any training course you run based on your research.

Read the online version

How to move your REF impact case study to a new institution

The REF rules are clear: impacts remain with the institution in which the original research was conducted. If you move institutions, you can’t take your case study with you. Or can you? I am regularly asked by researchers about how they might be able to claim impacts at institutions they have moved to, and often there is little hope. However, there are a number of examples in the REF2014 database of case studies that appeared to follow their authors, and were submitted by both the original and the new institution. So, it must be possible. In this article I will explain how. 

Read the online version

View the PDF (for printing)


Evidencing impacts from public engagement

Our guide and toolkit (below) on collecting evidence to prove your public engagement really made a difference

Read the online version

View the PDF (for printing)


The Public Engagement Evaluation Toolkit developed by Fast Track Impact with the National Coordinating Centre on Public Engagement and Dialogue Matters for Queen Mary University London:

Read the blog

Download the Toolkit



How to turn your next paper into an infographic

Our guide to turning a research paper into an infographic in six easy steps.

Read the online version


How to set up a stakeholder advisory panel for your research project (and why it actually delivers impact)

There is strong evidence that advisory panels deliver impact and can enhance your research. This guide explains how you can set one up for your next research project. 

Read the online version


How to generate research impact from Twitter and LinkedIn

Updated guide showing how you can drive impact from your research without wasting time online. Includes link to 45-page chapter, "Driving impact online", from the second edition of The Research Impact Handbook.

Read the online version



How to create a social media strategy for your research that delivers real impact

Our step-by-step guide to making a social media strategy, including an easy-to-complete template to help you get the most out the time you spend on social media.

Read the online version


Getting testimonials to corroborate the impact of your research

Guide to eliciting testimonials from people who have used or benefited from your research, to help evidence your impact (including a downloadable and editable consent form).

Read the online version


Working with policy makers

  • Writing a policy brief: our guide to writing policy briefs, explaining how to prepare, design, write, disseminate and then use your policy brief to deliver impact.

  • How to evidence international policy impacts: in this guide, Mark Reed and Sally Whiteman explain how to research the policy impact of your work.

  • Research into Policy Part 1: Four reasons you may be inadvertently manipulating rather than influencing policy. Podcast episode considering the moral premise of responsible policy engagement and discusses four ways that researchers often inadvertently lose the trust of members of the policy community. Using his four-step check-list, you can make sure your policy engagement is on the right side of your morals and engage more confidently in challenging policy contexts.  

  • Research into Policy Part 2: Getting heard is easier than you think. Interviews with a researcher who ended up leading a country's negotiations at a UN summit when the chief negotiator he was advising died, the head of climate science for WFF who has the discomfort of being based in the USA and the head of a global initiative to protect peatlands for UN Environment.

  • Research into Policy Part 3: Practical skills to inform and influence. Building on the ethics and principles from part 1 and interviews in part 2, in this third podcast episode considers practical ways to both inform and influence policy based on reliable evidence from research. It considers how to take a more relational approach to developing a policy brief and how you can make a "pincer movement" to work from both bottom up and top-down to achieve impacts from research in the policy arena. 



Who will benefit from your research and will block it? How to identify stakeholders so you can work together for impact



How to turn your research findings into a video that people actually want to watch

Our guide to making or commissioning videos based on ideas that will make your research findings stick in people's memories.

Read the online version

5 ways to fast track the impact of your PhD

Generating societal, cultural and/economic impact from your Ph.D. is no longer an optional extra - it is an essential step on the career ladder and one we hope you will enjoy along the way

How to create a positive impact culture in your research group

What are the motivational levers we can use to inspire colleagues to engage with impact for diverse and healthy reasons, and what mix of extrinsic incentives should accompany such a bottom-up and empathic approach to creating an impact culture? In this guide and accompanying audio, we define three elements of an impact culture and ask practical questions that can enable you to characterize the impact culture of your own group, and decide what strengths you can build on and the things you might want to do differently.

Read the online version

How to make an infographic CV featuring impact that you could actually submit with your next grant application

Consider how you communicate impact on your CV and see how you can do this using infographics, whilst meeting the CV formatting criteria set by a research funder.

Read the online version


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