Pathways to impact
- Science excellence is the primary criterion for assessing proposals.
- User engagement is key to achieving successful impact.
- Knowledge exchange is the process by which impact is achieved.
- The pathways to impact should detail the activities which will help develop potential economic and societal impacts. Plans for engaging with academic audiences may be included in the pathways to impact, but only where these form part of the critical pathway towards economic and societal impact. Academic impacts should generally be described in the Academic Beneficiaries section.
All research proposals submitted to NERC must be accompanied by a pathways to impact document that will detail:
- Users (industry, business, government, charities or the general public) who may benefit from or make use of the research;
- how they might benefit and/or make use of the research;
- activities that will be undertaken in order to increase the potential for economic and societal impact to result from the research.
Where appropriate, funds will be available to support justified high-quality non-academic impact activities identified in the pathways to impact document to ensure that they are encouraged and supported as part of the grant.
Further guidance is available in the document below.
All schemes will require a pathway to impact document to be submitted alongside the grant proposal.
Pathways to impact requirements
The pathway to impact document should be up to 2 pages of A4 with text size and font requirements as for the science proposal (generally minimum font 11 point Arial, 2cm margins).
Any funds requested should also be detailed in the Je-S pro forma and clearly indicated as pathways to impact activities.
Research grant proposals will continue to be assessed on science excellence. Pathways to impact will be included for assessment as part of the usual review process and will be considered as a secondary criterion.
Fellowship proposals are assessed based on science excellence and suitability of the applicant; pathways to impact will be a secondary criterion.
Tips for researchers
- Remember to include staff costs relating to impact activities in the pathway to impact document itself.
- Public outreach is a popular form of impact activity: for such activities to be as effective as possible, try to think of your research in the context of two-way public engagement, not just outreach.
- Many proposals include workshops in their pathways to impact: to get the best out of a workshop, it is essential to have end-users involved.
- Inputs to policy tend to be referred to in terms of interactions with policymakers through workshops. For more routes to influencing policy, see NERC's science-to-policy page and the science into policy brochure.
- Most proposals aim to engage with end-users. Wherever possible and for activities to be most effective, end-users should be involved in the development of the proposal as early on as possible.
- Remember to describe how you are going to achieve impact, not just what that impact is going to be.
Queries relating to pathways to impact should be directed to email@example.com.