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Achieving Impact in Research

Achieving Impact in Research

Edited by:
  • Pam Denicolo - Consultant on Doctoral Education and Training
Additional resources:

October 2013 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This unique addition to the Success in Research series addresses the importance of understanding and achieving impact for the purposes of gaining research funding and reporting achieved impact for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).  

The book includes contributions from researchers and researcher developers who feel that impact is ill-defined and poorly understood despite its prevalence in policy documents, websites and institutional activities. This succinct and cohesive text draws on the expert contributors' collective research practice, knowledge and experience. 

Using a variety of examples, boxed activities and highlighted reflection points, this practical guide covers the following key areas: 

  • The meaning of impact in relation to research
  • How the Impact Agenda fits with attitudes and ethics that motivate research
  • The different characterisations of research impact and when impact is apparent
  • How impact can be planned into proposals, evaluated and evidenced
  • The skills needed to be an impactful researcher
  • How impact can be supported through Knowledge Exchange and effective partnerships 

This is a must-have guide for anyone seeking to understand and achieve impact in their own research.

The Success in Research series, from Cindy Becker and Pam Denicolo, provides short, authoritative and accessible guides on key areas of professional and research development.  

Avoiding jargon and cutting to the chase of what you really need to know, these practical and supportive books cover a range of areas from presenting research to achieving impact, and from publishing journal articles to developing proposals. They are essential reading for any student or researcher interested in developing their skills and broadening their professional and methodological knowledge in an academic context.

Colin Chandler
What is the meaning of impact in relation to research and why does it matter? A view from inside academia
Sophie Payne-Gifford
What is the meaning of the Impact Agenda - is it a repackaged or a new entity? Views from inside the Research Councils
Jennifer Chubb
How does the Impact Agenda fit with attitudes and ethics that motivate research?
Jo Lakey, Geoff Rodgers and Rosa Scoble
What are the different characteristics of research impact?
Christopher Wood
When might research impact be apparent?
Rob Daley and Sara Shinton
How can impact be planned into research proposals?
Tony Bromley and André de Campos
How can impact evaluation be planned?
Tony Bromley
How can impact be evidenced: practical methods?
Jennifer Chubb
What skills are needed to be an impactful researcher?
Andy Jackson
How can knowledge exchange support the development of impact through partnerships and university infrastructures?
Ellen Pearce and Pam Denicolo
How can you become an impactful researcher?
Christopher Wood and Pam Denicolo
Appendix I A special case: researcher development and the work of the impact and evaluation group
Appendix II An illustration of the Researcher Development Framework (Vitae)
Appendix III The pathways to impact framework provided by RCUK


Success in Research free tools

A collection of free tips, exercises and resources from all books in the Success in Research series


This book is a very important contribution in the ever-changing field of research, now facing a new paradigm-shift where impact in terms of making changes in society has been pointed out as an important issue. As there is a gap between producing breakthrough research results and inform about them in a way making it possible for society beyond academica to use the outcomes, this book is important to every researcher. To make difference as a researcher, in the sense of producing research results with impact, is a matter of articulating the results in an understandable and interesting way. This book is an answer to the questions we researchers have of how to cope with the new requirements and helps us in an excellent way to understand how to bridge the gap between our research results and how to disseminate them in a broader society than we usually do.

Mona Holmqvist
Associate Professor, University of Gothenburg Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies


This book is both timely in its publication and of potential enormous benefit to HEI’s and academics as the emphasis in research in UK Universities and elsewhere shifts more and more towards the Impact of research and away from the Output of research.  The text is well separated into easy to read chapters dealing various aspects of the Impact Agenda and most chapters are planned is such a way as to pose questions to the reader which help them to reflect on their own particular situation. For this reason the book will be an invaluable asset to all HEI’s, Research Centres and Institutes, Graduate Schools and individual academics.

Prof Mick Fuller
Head of Graduate School, Plymouth University; Chair UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE); Member of the Steering Council EUA-CDE; Member of the Steering Committee for the QAA Code for HE; Member of the HEA Advisory committee for PTES.


This is a book that both challenges your thinking about achieving impact in research while also providing helpful  practical support. The format of the book  guides you through the text providing practical tips and suggestions along the way. The integrated personal reflection points and activities embedded throughout are helpful in keeping you fully engaged with the subject. I can highly recommend this book to students, researchers and academics.

Janet Bohrer
Assistant Director - Standards, Quality and Enhancement


Achieving Impact in Research attempts both to define the impact agenda and its rationale and to provide general, targeted advice on how to engage with it. It is in this second aim that the book succeeds best. Much of the practical guidance is general enough in its approach to be relevant across disciplines but focused enough upon self-reflection and planning to be of tangible use. As such, I would recommend this book to those teaching research skills at an institutional and departmental level and also to early career researchers trying to understand impact and address it in research planning and implementation.

Dr Catherine Easton
Lancaster University’s School of Law

[Achieving Impact in Research] argues that the impact agenda does not fundamentally alter the priorities and direction of UK research. The authors even present the impact agenda as a developmental process that helps bring researchers' potential for non-academic influence into sharper focus. The soothing message of the different chapters is that the right skills, preparation and attitude help researchers create and evidence impact for a wide range of individual research projects. 

Jacqueline Aldridge, Kent Business School, University of Kent
European Consortium for Political Research

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