Online course

Research Impact: Making a Difference

Help your work to benefit society and the economy. Learn what research impact is and how to create it.

Discover what drives research impact and why

University research has always made a difference to human understanding. Sadly, the importance of this work isn’t always communicated to the world outside of academia - leading many academics to believe that research is undervalued in society.

In this course, you’ll discover how to co-create research impact with a wide range of stakeholders, such as industry and government. You’ll also learn to communicate the benefits that impact-driven research brings to the economy and society. Ultimately, you’ll be able to better understand, communicate and create research impact.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsUniversities have always played an important role in society, helping to shape our world and build brighter futures. But for those outside the academic community, those benefits haven't always been obvious. Perhaps this is because researchers across all disciplines haven't shouted quite loudly enough about the benefits that their work does bring, but that is changing. Researchers are now looking outside their university walls to build productive relationships across government, business, and a wide range of third-sector agencies. The term research impact describes this collaborative process, creating real-life benefits for others. But researchers often find that they can lack the tools and confidence needed to fully engage with this impact agenda.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 secondsThis free, online course has been designed with input from a range of experts across the business, academic, and public sectors. It aims to demystify the term research impact by providing you with a comprehensive set of tools to support impact-driven research and co-creation. We'll introduce you to the key features of the research impact process, from uncovering the wider potential of your data to identifying partners and building collaborative relationships that help all parties involved. You'll also hear directly from stakeholders and experts, from industry funding agencies, and NGOs about what motivates them to engage with academics.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 secondsWe've also designed course activities to help you build the skills and confidence you need, and you'll have the chance to engage with other learners to share your insights and experiences along the way. By the end of this course, you should have the confidence and skills to articulate your impact vision and strategy. Impact is a constantly evolving journey for researchers. We hope you'll join us in taking the first steps towards ensuring that your work will truly make a difference.

What topics will you cover?

  • What is research impact and why it’s important
  • How to communicate research impact
  • Co-creating research impact with stakeholders
  • Success stories of stakeholder-researcher interaction
  • Shaping policy
  • Training and education in research impact skills

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Develop an understanding of the concept of research impact in the Higher Education context
  • Evaluate the motivating factors for engaging in the research impact agenda
  • Explain the benefits that impact-driven research can bring to the economy and society
  • Identify success factors for impact-driven research
  • Identify success factors for collaborating with a wide range of different stakeholders including industry and civil society

Who is the course for?

This course would be of value to anyone involved in the Higher Education sector, including postgraduate students, all grades of academic staff (from young investigators to senior academics) and non-academic research professionals such as research managers.

Who will you learn with?

Nicol Keith

I am a Professor at the Institute of Cancer Research, where I am also Director of Research Impact. I am motivated by what's round the corner and the societal impact of research.

Jonathan Scott

I am a Research Manager, with broad experience in working with innovation, stakeholders and impact in the Life Sciences sector.

Vicky Heath

I'm a freelance Science Writer and Editor with experience in identifying and documenting the benefits of impact-driven research.

Who developed the course?

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

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Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.
Introductory offer. Available until 11 May 2019. T&Cs apply.