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Research Impact at Manchester

The creation of positive economic and societal impacts and benefits from our research is integral to the University’s 2020 strategy and cuts across all our fields of activity. 

Our aim is to be at the leading edge of realising and communicating the impact of our excellent research and advanced training.

In terms of defining impact, RCUK specify that:

"Economic and societal impacts embrace all the extremely diverse ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations by:

  • Fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom
  • Increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy
  • Enhancing quality of life, health and creative output."

Using the PURE research information system to record details on your impact

As well as recording publications, projects and grant information, researchers can use Pure to capture details of other interactions, including knowledge exchange, engagement and impact.

For guidance on creating and recording impact records in PURE, including details on attaching documentation and evidence, see the Impact User Guide at the Pure support website

Why is evidencing impact from research important? 

  • Involvement and interest in knowledge exchange and impact is an increasingly important element in promotion and recruitment criteria for academic roles.
  • Project funders require plans and reports on the potential economic and societal impacts of the research they support.
  • Research impact was assessed for the first time during the Research Excellence Framework in 2014 and will be an important element again for REF2021.

University Support for Impact

The Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health have Knowledge Exchange & Impact Officers. Many Schools across the University also have Academic Leads for Impact/Impact Champions.

A number of  networks and departments across the University can offer impact-related support and advice, for example see:

Knowledge Exchange Team - For enquiries related to any of the Knowledge Transfer and Exchange schemes, including Impact Accelerator Accounts, KTPs, etc. (links below)

Business Engagement Support Team - advising on existing relationships and helping build partnerships with local, regional and international organisations.

UMIP - The University of Manchester's agent for intellectual property (IP) management and commercialisation activities

Overview of Impact-related Services from the University Library. 

Overview of support and guidance from the Policy@Manchester network.

Public Engagement @ Manchester - guides and toolkits.


Impact and KE-related funding

ESRC Impact Accelerator Account

EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Wellcome Trust ISSF

MRC Proximity to Discovery

MRC Confidence in Concept


Toolkits and resources

Guidance materials on integrating impact into research planning and grant applications (structuring applications, costing activities, evidence capture, etc.)  and links to Research Council guidance on impact are in the Pathways to Impact sub-section.

A short guidance note on Impact in Horizon 2020 has been produced in collaboration with the University's EU funding team.

Two YouTube films have some helpful hints from experienced University of Manchester researchers and engagement experts:

Also available are sample design templates for producing single and grouped impact case studies


External resources

REF Impact Case Studies Database - search and access Impact Case Studies submitted by Institutions across the UK to the REF2014. Possibility to filter by Institution, Impact Type, Research Subject Area, Keywords, etc

The Independent review of the Research Excellence Framework by Lord Nicholas Stern - 'Building on success and learning from experience' July 2016.

NCCPE report - The role of public engagement in the REF February 2017.

RAND 2014. Preparing impact submissions for REF 2014: An evaluation: Findings and observations. Catriona Manville, Molly Morgan Jones, Michael Frearson, Sophie Castle-Clarke, Marie-Louise Henham, Salil Gunashekar, Jonathan Grant.

The nature, scale and beneficiaries of research impact: An initial analysis of Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 impact case studies. Research Report 2015/01. King's College London and Digital Science.

The Metric Tide: Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management - The review’s outcomes report will interest researchers and will inform the work of HEFCE and the other UK higher education funding bodies as they prepare for the future of the Research Excellence Framework. July 2015.

Encouraging a British Invention Revolution: Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Growth - October 2013. 

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology - how to get involved: POST website

Use the Register of All-Party Groups to find UK Parliamentarians who might be interested in your research

LSE Impact blog - encouraging debate, sharing best practice and keeping the impact community up to date with news, events and the latest research

Wellcome Trust - Engagement with your research - information on funding, training, online resources and advice.

Using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities - some useful tips to bear in mind.

Three ways podcasting can make you a more engaged academic

Tools for Policy Impact: a handbook for researchers - Practical guidance and advice from the Overseas Development Institute