What is a Pathways to Impact statement? What is a Pathways to Impact statement?

Since 2009 UK Research Councils have phased in compulsory impact statements/plans for all funding applications. Known as “Pathways to Impact”, the attachment forms a key part of the application assessment and may be the difference between getting your project funded or not. It should complement the JeS Impact Summary and be specific to the research project being proposed. Each of the Research Councils have slightly differing guidance so please be sure to follow the most up to date guidance for applicants for the call you are applying to.

There are key questions that should be dealt with in the different impact sections of your application:

Section Question 1 Question 2
Impact Summary (JeS)

Who might benefit from this research?

-What are the potential audiences that could be affected by your research? Policy makers, charities, health workers, communities/ public groups, business/sector etc.

How might they benefit from this research? 

-What are the issues they are facing that cross over with your work, or what may change for them once they learn of your results?

Pathways statement (attachment)

What is the most appropriate method to communicate with relevant audiences?

There are numerous pathways to impact (routes of communication) and these will need to be tailored for each audience (see Planning for Impact pages for further guidance)

When should activities take place?

Are there key points in your project, or key external events that should be considered? Make sure you cost and build time into your project for impact activities. 



Colleagues in RIN are happy to help with the preparation of your Pathways to Impact statement. Contactable via your RIN Project Officer the Impact Team, Relationship Managers and IP Managers may all have appropriate advice and the following resource may also help with preparation of the statement:

Impact guide for applications to UKRI Research Councils


Strong vs Weak examples

Features of successful Pathways to Impact Features of poorly rated Pathways to Impact
Well considered needs and tailored activities appropriate to relevant beneficiaries   Vague, not specific to project, no clear deliverables
Clear description of deliverables and timescales, including a Gantt chart    Activities focused only on academic dissemination
Evidence of co-production and involvement of beneficiaries from the outset  All activities routine for University research posts (e.g. project website, press release)
Strong commitment to impact Too much detail on track record rather than what will be done for the project in question
Brief but convincing, appropriate track record of investigators Activities end of project focused and no timeline given
Clear plan for evaluating and reporting impact   Consideration of evaluation of impact and impact plans missing
Justified costs and resource requirements to support the impact plan   No costs identified or budget inadequate/inappropriate
Document meets formatting criteria  Document does not meet formatting criteria