Impact helps to demonstrate that social science is important – that it is worth investing in and worth using.

Economic and societal impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to society and the economy, of benefit to individuals, organisations and national and international communities.

Research impact embraces all the diverse ways that research-related skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations. These include:

  • fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the UK
  • increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy
  • enhancing quality of life, health and creative output.

The impact of social science research can be categorised as:

  • Instrumental: influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour
  • Conceptual: contributing to the understanding of policy issues, reframing debates
  • Capacity building: through technical and personal skill development.

For detailed information on maximising research impact take a look at our impact toolkit.

To view examples of ESRC impact see our impact case studies.