Research impact measurement principles

In its Research Impact Principles and Framework, the ARC lists six principles to underpin impact measurement, which ACU applies:

  1. Acknowledge that excellent research underpins impact.
  2. Promote understanding through use of common language and terms associated with research impact.
  3. Respect the diversity in research disciplines/sectors in demonstrating research impact.
  4. Cooperate in developing a set of common, cost effective and efficient parameters for data collection and reporting.
  5. Adopt a consultative approach with stakeholders about implementing impact reporting in support of future research investments.
  6. Encourage, recognise and reward positive behaviour in planning, monitoring and evaluating research impact.

From an operational perspective, planning is key to implementing the measures and should include:

  • setting early and clear expectations on research impact against which progress can be monitored
  • developing capability to effectively collect data and undertake impact monitoring and evaluation
  • identifying appropriate data elements for effective assessment of research impact.

Examples of research impact indicators and evidence

The discipline lists are by no means exhaustive, and they overlap.

  • Measures of improved patient outcomes, public health or health services
  • Documented changes to clinical guidelines
  • Evidence of take up and use of new or improved products and processes that improve quality of life
  • Traceable reference to inclusion of research in national or international industry standards or authoritative guidance
  • New or modified professional standards, protocols or codes of practice
  • Documented changes in knowledge, capability or behaviours of individuals benefiting from training
  • Consultancies to organisations that utilise research expertise
  • Cost-benefit analyses on new services or protocols arising from research
  • User feedback or testimony
  • Citations in public discussions, consultation documents or judgements
  • Citations by international bodies such as the United Nations, UNESCO, IMF and so on
  • Citations in policy, regulatory, strategy, practice or other documents
  • Measures of improved inclusion, welfare or equality
  • Documented evidence of influence on guidelines, legislation, regulation, policy or standards
  • Documented changes to professional standards or behaviour
  • Satisfaction measures (e.g. with services)
  • Use in scrutiny or audit processes, such as Select Committees
  • Incorporation in training or professional development materials
  • Quantitative data relating, for example, to cost-effectiveness or organisational performance
  • Consultancies to organisations that utilise research expertise
  • Evidence of use of education materials arising from the research (where they extend significantly beyond the university that conducted the research)
  • Growth of small businesses in the creative industries: generation of new products, sales figures and income generated, or employment data
  • Awards and prizes
  • Citations in policy documents or other published reports
  • Downloads of linked resources or access to web content
  • Funding from public or charitable bodies
  • User feedback
  • Consultancies to organisations that utilise research expertise
  • Changes to professional standards and behaviour
  • Acknowledgements in annual reports of government and non-government organisations, and charities
  • Testimony of experts or users who can attest to the reach and/or significance of the impact
  • Studies on the social return on investment
Page last updated on 12/12/2022

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