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9 Research Impact Things

Self directed learning tool for researchers interested in demonstrating research impact beyond the academic sphere.

What is impact?

Impact is the benefit that comes from research. 

Engagement is the impact that happens beyond academia. It is another way to demonstrate how your research contributes to society and research end-users.  

You may be familiar with academic measurements in terms of metrics, such as citation counts, field weighted impact, h-index, etc. These traditional metrics focus on measuring quality and impact of academic publications. For more information on this see the Measure Research Impact and Quality guide.

Getting started

As defined by Curtin's Research Engagement and Impact (IE) team  impact is the benefit from research and engagement occurs when research is used outside of academia. Before learning more about engagement and creating pathways to impact, it is important to understand the deeper definition and context!


  1. The Australian Research Council defines
    • Research Impact as "the contribution that research makes to the economy, society, environment or culture, beyond the contribution to academic research", and
    • Research Engagement as "the interaction between researchers and research end-users outside of academia, for the mutually beneficial transfer of knowledge, technologies, methods or resources".

       

  2. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK defines impact as "demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy". Impact can include instrumental, conceptual and capacity building. Read the "What is Impact?" section on their website to learn more. 

     

  3. Professor Mark Reed describes impact as "the good that researchers can do in the world". He then breaks it down to 10 types of Impact (scroll down to "What types of impact are there?" to explore the definitions).

     

  4. Watch the video of the 10 brief impact stories from University College Dublin Research Impact Case Studies Competition 2019 to get an idea of how researchers are making a difference to society.

Learn more

What does research with high impact look like? How do I demonstrate engagement? How do I tell my impact story effectively? The best way to find out is to read some of the case studies from your discipline. Follow one or all of the links below and select a few impact case studies to review:

Consider: What are the common themes in the case studies that received high ratings? How do you engage with your stakeholders? How have you been keeping track of your engagement activities and documenting evidence of research impact?