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Impact from Research 

Edinburgh Napier’s R&I strategy aims to foster a research environment that inspires and brings together our academic staff, researchers, students and external stakeholders, to solve real world problems as well as influence professional practice and policy nationally and internationally, driving key societal, economic and environmental impacts.

The University’s R&I impact strategy​ was formally approved by the Research and Innovation Committee in 2023 and outlines the University’s plans to enhance generation of impact from research and innovation in the period 2021 to 2028.​

What is research impact?

Put simply, impact from research is when:

  • Your research makes a difference to someone or something

  • Your research leads to a change, effect or benefit

To understand more about impact generation, take a look at these visuals​ or watch a short video here​.

Examples of impact

Impact from research can take many forms.

This table extracted from REF2021 criteria​ is intended to illustrate the wide variety of areas in which impact from research may be found to have a positive influence on the quality of life of individuals and communities locally, nationally and internationally. These are indicative only, and in practice, impact will cross boundaries between them or go beyond them.

Routes to impact – Making it happen

Routes to impact are the mechanisms and activities that help to turn your research into impact. 

In order to make a change (impact), you need to share your research with potential beneficiaries (those who could benefit from your research).

This can be achieved in many different ways, but it often involves dissemination of research findings, media coverage, public engagement or knowledge exchange.  By communicating your research through these activities, you can reach the intended audience and hopefully bring about a change.

Exchanging knowledge can also help to shape you research direction and enable you to tailor your research to meet the needs of an end-user.  For example, involving an industry partner in the development stage of your research project could help to bring about an impactful change by providing them with solutions to a real-world problem which they identify.