Impact by design: Planning your research impact in 7Cs
Emerald Open Research
Although supporting and assessing the non-academic "impact" of research are not entirely new developments in higher education, academics and research institutions are under increasing pressure to produce work that has a measurable influence outside the academy. With a view to supporting the solution of complex societal issues with evidence and expertise, and against the background of increased emphasis on impact in the United Kingdom's 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) and a
... 021) and a proliferation of impact guides and tools, this article offers a simple, easy to remember framework for designing impactful research. We call this framework: "The 7Cs of Impact" – Context, Communities, Constituencies, Challenge, Channels, Communication and Capture. Drawing on core elements of the Policy Institute at King's College London's Impact by Design training course and the authors' practical experience in supporting and delivering impact, this paper outlines how this framework can help address key aspects across the lifecycle of a research project and plan, from identifying the intended impact of research and writing it into grants and proposals, to engaging project stakeholders and assessing whether the project has had the desired impact. While preparations for current and future REF submissions may benefit from using this framework, this paper sets out the "7Cs" with a more holistic view of impact in mind, seeking to aid researchers in identifying, capturing, and communicating how research projects can and do contribute to the improvement in society.