Pathways to Impact
Each year the UK Research Councils invest around £3 billion in research and research training in the UK covering the full spectrum of academic disciplines, which has a huge impact on the wellbeing and economy of the UK. It is crucial that the Research Councils demonstrate the economic, societal and cultural impact of the research it funds to show value for public funding.
In this context, there is now a greater need to involve researchers more directly in demonstrating the impact of their research. To enable this to happen, researchers need to be actively involved in thinking about demonstrating the value of their research and its wider impacts from its inception to completion – and ideally beyond if we are to capture and demonstrate the longer-term impact of activities.
What to include in the Pathways to Impact statement
The Pathways to Impact assessment statement, together with the Impact Summary, outlines the wider benefits of the research to the public sector, commercial private sector, third sector and/or the wider public.
Plans for engaging with academic audiences may be included but only where these form part of the critical pathway towards economic and societal impact. This pathway must be clearly articulated.
The Pathways to Impact statement should:
- be project specific and have very clear deliverables
- describe societal and economic deliverables and milestones instead of focussing on just scientific deliverables
- plan to deliver activities pertinent to the project instead of a focus on track record or routine activities for university post
- consider broader beneficiaries, likely impact on them and appropriate mechanisms for realising these potential impacts
- be focussed on knowledge exchange and impact generation rather than narrowly focused, end focused or purely for dissemination purposes
- be clearly laid out in terms of timelines when each impact activity will be carried out.
Further information is available from the RCUK website: RCUK: Pathways to Impact
Assessment of Pathways to Impact
As part of the application assessment process Research Committee members assign a score to the Pathways to Impact statement of excellent, satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
This score is based on the referees' scores and comments, and the Principal Investigator response, and uses the following definitions:
Definitions of the three possible scores of the Pathways to Impact statement
When associated with a grant obtaining a high score against the standard assessment criteria, this PtI score will reinforce that assessment and give the application an advantage over similarly scored proposals without an E rating.
Funded applications will be announced with the Pathways to Impact statement unchanged.
This PtI score is unlikely to have any positive influence on the overall score of an application, and in the case of a competitive proposal may disadvantage it in competition with proposals of similar merit with an E score.
Funded applications will be announced with the Pathways to Impact statement as presented, but feedback may be given on how it could be improved.
This PtI score could influence the overall score of a proposal if it was seen as indicating a poor understanding of the potential impacts of the work that might damage its outcomes. It would be a negative factor when rank ordering the proposal with others.
Funded applications will not be announced until an acceptable revised PtI has been received.