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.
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
Impact planning template including a worked example
Social media strategy template
Impact tracking template
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.
Download slides from our most popular impact training courses
Find out more about our impact training courses or download slides:
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.
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:
How to write the impact sections of a grant proposal
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Evidencing impacts from public engagement
Our guide and toolkit (below) on collecting evidence to prove your public engagement really made a difference
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:
How to turn your next paper into an infographic
Our guide to turning a research paper into an infographic in six easy steps.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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