Why make an impact?
In recent years, the government has placed increasing emphasis on the need for evidence of economic and social returns from its investment in research.
By ensuring that ESRC-funded research makes the biggest possible impact on policy and practice, and improving how we measure and capture this, we are better able to support the case for research funding.
Impact helps to demonstrate that social science is important – that it is worth investing in and worth using.
Benefits for society
High quality social science research has the potential to enhance social and economic wellbeing across all sections of society. By ensuring that decisions on policy and practice are informed by secure evidence, research can help to:
- Improve the effectiveness and sustainability of public, private and third sector organisations
- Improve social welfare and cohesion
- Increase economic prosperity, wealth creation and regeneration
- Enhance cultural enrichment and quality of life.
Benefits for researchers
To maximise the impact of your research, you need to engage with your key user groups. This can provide substantial benefits for the quality of your own research, including:
- Early feedback – to help shape your research agenda and improve methodologies
- Relevance – ensuring your research is meaningful, timely and useful
- Recruiting participants, for example for focus groups or surveys
- Developing new skills and raising your profile.
Evaluating successful impact also enables you to see what works and why. These lessons can then be implemented both by you and by future researchers.
Next step, how to make an impact.