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Writing impact for UKRI

We've been chatting UKRI bids with Queen Mary's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science!


Reetika is a Research Impact Officer at Queen Mary University of London, specialising in health, engineering and computer science.




On Tuesday 2nd June, Queen Mary’s Research Impact Team held a bespoke training session for researchers in our School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. The topic of the session was ‘Impact for UKRI applications: New Guidance 2020’. This was in response to UKRI’s January 2020 announcement that for funding calls launched after 1st March 2020 there will be no separate Pathways to Impact section. UKRI reiterated that:UKRI's logo

The impact agenda is vital. UKRI exists to fund the researchers who generate the knowledge that society needs, and the innovators who can turn this knowledge into public benefit. Pathways to Impact has been important in driving a culture change and the requirement to capture this in a separate section is no longer needed.

41 researchers attended and we discussed impact, what the changes to UKRI guidance mean for researchers applying for EPSRC grants and impact tools, resources and support available at Queen Mary. We were also lucky enough to have Hamit Soyel talk about his impact journey from research to start-up and Mark Sandler talk about what makes excellent impact from a reviewer’s perspective.

Research Impact Officer, Tom Horner talked about integrating creative and ambitious impact plans into proposals. He also advised researchers to think about their impact objectives, delivery milestones, monitoring, evaluation and costs. EPSRC assesses impact as part of both their primary and secondary criteria for grant applications.

Hamit talked about the challenges he’s faced in setting up the Queen Mary spin-out, Dragonfly Technology Solutions Ltd. The key take home messages were that setting up a start-up is hard work and takes a significant amount of time. Being flexible in modifying plans in response to feedback and persistence are essential.

Mark emphasised the need to make impact integral to the research and that successful activities take time, planning and ambition. He gave researchers some practical tips such as having an impact work package, using Queen Mary’s Impact Acceleration Accounts and making use of Queen Mary’s and departmental ties with the community or local MPs, for example, to achieve impact.

Finally, Research Impact Officer, Reetika Suri discussed the impact journey from research activity to dissemination and impact. She advised considering the type of impact, beneficiaries, engagement activities, costs and measures of success when planning impact. Particularly for EPSRC applications, a discussion of national importance is vital, for example, how many lives could the research save, how much money could be saved or how will government priorities be addressed?

The Team collected baseline and post-session feedback by asking researchers ‘what do you know about impact?’

We also asked attendees how well they understood the new UKRI guidance after the session.

Delivering an interactive online training session brings its own set of challenges but we have found that doing so attracts higher numbers of attendees and allows attendees to participate in our training more flexibly.

Thus, our plan is to carry on offering online training alongside face-to-face training when the COVID pandemic ends in order to reach wider audiences.

Queen Mary’s Research Impact Team is actively thinking about our current training offer so if you have any questions, feedback or want to arrange bespoke training in your School/Institute, please get in touch with our training lead, Reetika Suri




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