Impact Resources


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The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) defines impact as 'an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia'.

There are many ways for research in medieval studies, and the arts & humanities, to carry impact, as defined by HEFCE. The following resources have been collected in order to help medievalists at Leeds think about and devise pathways to impact, find assistance with planning and funding, and to assess and evaluate the various stages of carrying out impact-related work.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the impact of university-level research outside of higher education institutions and academia. Though REF assessments is not the only drive behind impact-related activities as the creation of public knowledge is an important part of research in all disciplines, the REF is a part of the process that determines research funding allocated to universities; impact is currently valued at 20% of REF assessments.

We've gathered some resources here to help researchers better understand impact and to get started on thinking positively about project development with elements of impact. Please see the bottom of the page for links to the resources. 

NB: Lord Nicholas Stern's proposal of changes to the way that the REF determines and allocates research funding is awaiting review and implementation. Some of the proposals include:

  • to count all research active staff in the REF but varying the number of pieces they might submit - currently higher education (HE) institutions select the staff that will be included and this innovation will ease pressure and encourage academics to research new areas or on a longer time-scale
  • widening and deepening the notion of research 'impact' to include influence on public engagement, culture and teaching, avoiding distortions of research choices and careers
  • introducing a new institutional level assessment to foster greater cohesiveness between academics and reward collaboration on interdisciplinary activities.

Read the press release from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy here.

Read the full independent report here.

Arts Engaged 

Arts Engaged is a section of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Leeds designed to provide a range of resources relating to impact, public engagement and knowledge exchange in the Arts & Humanities. You may log in with your username and password, and the information on the Arts Engaged page should be treated as confidential.

Pages in this document

  1. Introduction
  2. REF Case Studies
  3. Planning, Self-Assessment & Evaluation
  4. Further Reading, Listening & Watching