Providing evidence of the impact of university research




universities' third mission, research output, research impact, exploitation, valorisation


This research note aims to aid university researchers in connecting with the notion of impact, a crucial element in achieving the third mission of universities. To make an impact is essentially a question of making a difference and influencing someone or something. Funding bodies, governments and taxpayers seek value for their investments in research, particularly value for money, whether academia likes it or not. Therefore, for universities, the impact is no longer merely a question of the number of scientific publications, building a community of interest around a subject or counting patents. Instead, impact now emphasises value delivery to stakeholders; innovative research is required to achieve this. This note surveys the literature on research impact and presents guidelines for how to conceptualise and provide evidence of the impact of research. Links between outputs, outcomes and impacts and how they are applied to communicating the evidence of overall research impact are clarified. Finally, we identify policy implications for the value-for-money perspective currently emphasised by funding bodies.

Nielsen BESS Vol. 4 No. 2 2022