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What is impact 

    Researchers are faced with an increasing demand to identify, describe and document the impact of their research. As research supporters we need to understand what impact is and how the potentials for impact in research projects can be enhanced.

    Defining impact

    Impact can be understood as research leading to an identifiable change in a societal or institutional practice/procedure/process or a technological product/method used in the real world.

    This means that:

    • Impact can be a physical, tangible thing, such as a new product or an institutional or discursive phenomenon, such as a procedure, a debate, a changed practice or skills development in the real world.
    • Impact relates to a specific societal segment, i.e. it is possible to identify stakeholders and/or beneficiaries that use, benefit from, have an interest in or are otherwise affected by the research in question.
    • The change is subject to a temporal dimension: Immediateshort term or long term, often labelled outputs, outcome and impact.
    • Impact is often the result of a deliberate collaboration between sectors, e.g. between researchers and external stakeholders. However, impact can be intended as well as unintended.

    Most definitions of research impact distinguish between academic impact (such as publications and citations) and societal impact (effects beyond academia). When describing impact, e.g. in research applications, it is important to be aware of this distinction.

    A small collection of definitions can be found here:

    Impact seen from different levels

    Describing impact

    The process leading to impact

    How can impact be evaluated?

    Slide from Succex University 2018 - om impact i ansøgninger


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