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RCUK Impact Definitions RCUK Impact Definitions

Academic Impact – JeS Academic Beneficiaries
A demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, methods, theory and application
Economic and Societal Impacts
The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy.

Why are Research Councils interested in Research Impact? Why are Research Councils interested in Research Impact?

Pathways to impact statements have been required since 2009 with most RCUK applications, and together with the JeS impact summary inform reviewers about the potential impact of your research and how you plan to facilitate that impact. The assessment of these statements varies by Council, all Councils use the strength of the planned research as the primary decider for funding but some Councils will use Impact as a secondary ranking criteria. This means, that in some instances, impact statements can be the difference between a successful application and a rejection.


The impact agenda was sparked when the Government introduce its austerity programme, in which every government department was asked to justify its expenditure. As the research councils are having to report on the societal benefits their expenditure, it has become necessary for applicants to outline how their research will affect, or impact, the non-academic world. Applications funded via RCUK not only need to outline how they will proactively seek to influence, but they are also required to report back to the councils on the outcomes of their work and their impacts.


Reporting of outcomes is done via research fish, and is then made publicly available – along with the impact summary – on the gateway to research database.

Support for Pathways to Impact Support for Pathways to Impact

The Impact Team, Relationship Managers, Intellectual Property Managers and your Project Officer can all help to support you in the production of your Pathways to Impact statement. Please contact your Project Officer and they will direct your query to the relevant support personnel, or contact Please ensure that you do this well ahead of the application deadline, as support cannot always be offered on very short notice.