Impact Tools and Guidance

This page contains practical guidance and resources for researchers who want to improve the potential impact of their research. This toolkit has been developed through engagement with internal and external colleagues and our experience of helping to achieve successful impact outcomes in the Research Excellence Framework.

Designing Impact

Embedding impact into your planning and making contact with stakeholders and end-users at an early stage are the most effective way of ensuring that your research has the potential to translate into impact. These tools can help you with grant applications and impact planning. 

Stakeholder Analysis Tool – If you are struggling to identify who might be interested in your research then this is a great place to start.

Delivering Impact

Delivering impact tests your project management and organisational skills. You'll need to be good with resources, understand events and know what information you need to start capturing to evidence the impact of your research.

Adding value to impact - this tool will help take your impact to the next level. Use it to maximise your efforts.

Symplectic Impact Guidance - Symplectic is the University's Research Information System. It includes a module where you can capture and record impact-related activities and evidence.

Engaging with policy makers - MetroPolis the University's research-led think-tank has collated a whole set of resources on engaging policy makers.

Communicating Impact

Once you have started to deliver research and you can see initial impacts beginning to emerge then you will need to think about how you are going to tell everyone about your work. These tools can help you.

Communications planning – need to tell everyone about your research but don’t know where to start? This guide on how to put together a communications plan is a great resource.

Elevator Pitch tool – sometimes you have to be able to condense years of research into one or two compelling and powerful sentences. This resource will help you to deliver winning pitches about your work.

Social Media toolkit – social media is a cheap, user-friendly way of building up a global network of interested people. Using it can be a little bit daunting so the Open University guide gives you a rundown of the basics.

The REF and Impact

This section contains lots of useful information to help you to navigate through the sometimes complex rules and guidance required to produce a high-quality impact case study.

Writing a REF case study – this handy guide breaks down the mysterious world of the REF impact case study taking you through what you need to include section by section. (Link to downloadable manual)

The REF impact case study database - the REF impact case study database is a fantastic resource which contains a fully searchable index of more than 6000 case studies that were submitted to the last REF.

Other Resources

There are lots of other resources available to researchers. Here are links to some of our favourites.

Research Funders: If you are submitting an application to one of the mainstream UK Research Councils then you should spend some time looking at their related webpages on impact:

Our Impact