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Research impact by design

Join Jonathan as he simplifies the essential 8C's to amplify your research impact and adeptly communicate your findings.

The course

What is included?

The course is split into 10 sessions. Each lesson has a video, a downloadable set of the slides and usually one or two worksheets that you can use in each module to put your new knowledge into practice.

The curriculum


What is research impact and why does it matter?

In this session I explore what is meant by research impact and its significance. Critically, I discuss the difference between research outputs (eg academic publications), outcomes and impact. In addition, I briefly examine the motivations for assessing research impact by research funders and governments and the implication of that on research impact assessment.


Playing fantasy research impact

The purpose of this session is to provide material that you can use in the rest of the course. In this session I will present two tools for thinking about research impact - Outcome Mapping and Logic Modelling - and ask you to use those to develop a vision statement on your fantasy research impact.



Context, the first of eight Cs. This session delves into understanding the broader environment affecting research impact, emphasising the importance of considering the positive and negative drivers shaping research impact pathways.


I will introduce you to a tool known as a PESTLE analysis that is assessing political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors impacting research. I will illustrate this drawing from one of the impact case studies presented in the introduction.



Communities are the people who benefit from your research. These stakeholder groups are broad and encompass areas such as policymakers, the public, creative industries, NGOs, education, legal professions, sports, and faith groups.

In this session I will work through a couple of examples to illustrate how easy it is to identify the communities who could benefit from your research. In the next session we will focus and prioritise these community groups it constituents, who are named institutions or individuals.



Welcome to this session focusing on constituencies, building on the previous discussion on communities. The key difference lies in identifying individuals, job roles, or specific institutions to understand their power and influence in supporting your research impact.



In this short session, we focused on Channels as part of the eight 'Cs' framework. It builds on the previous session where constituencies were discussed. The emphasis of this sessions is to explore various communication channels beyond traditional academic means to effectively engage stakeholders.


Challenge: What is the (research) question

Welcome to Session 7, where we examine the research challenge or research question. One key trick in securing research impact, is by providing valuable answers for your constituents. Barbara Minto's 'The Pyramid Principle' offers a structured approach to effective communication, with the first section focusing on identifying the right question and the second (Session 8) in communicating your answer



Our focus is on communicating complex ideas to various audiences using Barbara Minto's principle of structuring information. The principle is based on the fact that our short-term memory can only hold about seven ideas at a time, making it crucial to present information in a structured and concise way.


Capturing your research impact

In this penultimate session the focus is on capturing the impact of research activities effectively. I recommend using a simple 'shoebox' method to capture impact as research progresses. That is creating a folder on your desktop to store evidence of impact, such as emails or citations, without worrying about organizing it. The emphasis is on maintaining a comprehensive record of impact activities to facilitate the creation of impact case studies in the future.


Case studies - how to write

In this final session we will bring together the previous learning and discuss how to craft impact case studies. Impact case studies can take various forms and purposes, from structured submissions for assessment frameworks like the UK's Research Excellence Framework to narratives used for advocacy.


Your tutor

Jonathan Grant is founding Director of Different Angles Ltd, a consultancy that focuses on the social impact of universities and research.  His main interests are in biomedical and health R&D policy, research impact assessment, the use of research and evidence in policy and decision-taking, and the social purpose of universities in the 21st century.  Jonathan has significant international experience, having helped formulate and implement R&D and other strategies in, for example, the UK, Greece, Norway, Qatar, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada and the USA.

Start your research journey today!

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