Impact helps to demonstrate that research is important, worth using and investing in.
The importance of impact is reflected in the Strategic Plan 2013-18 with the University's commitment "to serve society by promoting and contributing to economic, cultural, and social advances through the accessibility of Oxford’s ideas, skills, and expertise" and "to share the fruits of research as widely as possible".
Here are some suggestions and resources. Please improve this page by sharing tools and other resources you find useful (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Impact can be created at any stage of the research process and is usually the result of effective knowledge exchange with an external partner. It is worth thinking about potential impacts at the grant application stage so you can be prepared for it.
Links to impact advice and guidance from the funding councils:
- AHRC self evaluation tools & techniques
- Partnership Working in the Arts and Humanities: A guide to good practice
- Guidance on planning and demonstrating effective policy engagement
- BBSRC the impact of your research
- ESRC toolkit
- EPSRC impact and translation toolkit
- MRC innovation
- STFC Impact framework and evaluation strategy
Remember to tell people, or organisations, you are collaborating with at that you will need their help to provide evidence for impact later in the project.
Before a project is underway:
Pathways to Impact guidance from the University (including links to funding councils advice).
During a project (eg Impact Acceleration Accounts) or towards the end of a project (eg Follow on Funds):
- External funding opportunities
- Internal funding opportunities (including Impact Acceleration Accounts)
- At the most basic level you can keep notes about who you talked to and what came of it. Have a look at the types of questions from Research Fish so that you only have to capture the relevant information once. Keep it in a safe place!
- Tell people about your activities. Keep your Research Facilitator and funder informed. The more people who know about a project the easier it is to remember.
- Install Google Analytics on any online material you have. It will provide a lot of data for very little time investment. You can also use TIDSR: Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources from Oxford Internet Institute.
- If you are running an event it is much easier to get feedback at the time.
Decide if you are evaluating impact, or evaluating an event in order to get evidence of impact. Evaluation does not have to be intensive. Think about whether qualitative or quantitative data would be more appropriate, and which would be the easiest to obtain.
There is lots of advice on evaluation here.
Evaluation is only worthwhile if you use the information when you do a similar activity in future.