Research Impact Statement
What is research impact?
Research impact is the effect research has beyond academia. The University of Cumbria utilises the UKRI definition of research impact as being 'the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy’. This can involve academic impact, economic and societal impact or both:
- Academic impactis the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes in shifting understanding and advancing scientific, method, theory and application across and within disciplines
- Economic and societal impactis the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to society and the economy, and its benefits to individuals, organisations and/or nations.
The institution also utilises the Research Excellence Framework definition of impact, which includes the effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia. Impact includes, but is not limited to, an effect on, change or benefit to:
- the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding;
- of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals;
- in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
- Impact includes the reduction or prevention of harm, risk, cost or other negative effects
When considering the level of impact of your research it can be helpful to consider the below:
- Degree of change – how much did someone change?
- Significance of impact - how much difference did it make to someone’s life?
- Scale of impact - how many people did it reach?
When considering the evidence of impact, you can draw on indicators related to the following:
- Understanding and awareness
- Health and wellbeing
- Decision making and behavioural change
- Capacity or preparedness
What is not impact?
It can sometimes be hard to distinguish the difference between the route or pathway to impact (typically dissemination such as conference, or engagement such as citations) and actual impact in the real world. Researchers cannot typically deliver ‘impact’ – the research has to prompt practitioners or organisations to take action that delivers benefit to a beneficiary, economy or institution. For example: giving a presentation to practitioners or running an event or exhibition is not impact. It would become impact if the people or organisation involved somehow do, experience or understand differently as a result of their interaction with the research.
Examples of our research impact can be seen below in our REF2014 Impact Case Studies.