Why are we changing the name from Impact Plan to Pathways to Impact?
From talking with the research community over the last year, we believe that the name was obscuring the purpose, which is for researchers to explore Pathways to Impact, not to accurately predict the impacts of work yet to be undertaken.
We have changed the name of impact plans in order to clarify what we are asking for. Although the name has changed, the information that we are asking for has not.
Pathways to Impact and RCUK expectations and policies
RCUK do not expect applicants to be able to predict the impact of their research. The purpose of Pathways to Impact is to encourage applicants to explore, from the outset, who could potentially benefit from their work in the longer term, and consider what could be done to increase the chances of their research reaching those beneficiaries.
The primary criterion for RCUK funding remains excellent research. Beyond that there are a number of other considerations taken into account, of which Pathways to Impact are one. This means that when you have two equally excellent proposals, a good Pathways to Impact could make a difference to the funding process.
Pathways to Impact are project specific, and should be appropriate for that piece of research. We do not expect the same level of detail or activity for each proposal. However, we do expect applicants to think carefully about the three questions asked within the Impact Summary and Pathways to Impact.
We have clarified the guidance on what is required within the different sections of the application.
Impact Summary: in filling in this section on the application form applicants should explore the following two questions:
Who might benefit from their research?
- How might they benefit?
Pathways to Impact: in filling in this attachment applicants should explore the following question:
Previously, applicants were asked to explore all three questions in both places.
Potential academic impact should be explored in the Academic Beneficiaries and appropriate Case for Support sections of the application form. Where appropriate, plans for engagement with other academics may be included in the Pathways to Impact, where this forms part of the critical pathway towards economic and societal impact.
If applicants have reviewed all the guidance and feel that describing activities aimed at enhancing impact is not applicable to their research, they must use the Pathways to Impact attachment to explain their reasoning. This will be reviewed with the rest of the proposal.
RCUK reserve the right to withhold the award of a grant until Pathways to Impact are of a standard appropriate for the project.