Sharing your research and generating impact

Impact is integral to the research mission, generating different types of impact. The Policy Unit champions, facilitates and supports impact on policy and practice – widening the use of longitudinal research, informing decision-making and inspiring new lines of thought.

Understanding Society offers a unique opportunity to inform policy and practice: diagnosing key problems and their drivers or determinants; who is most affected and how; has a particular policy affected outcomes? The benefits of such research contribute to social development, health and wellbeing and economic progress – regionally, nationally and internationally

The Policy Unit works to engage non-academic audiences with the data and findings from Understanding Society. We also support researchers to generate impact from research that uses the Study. We can help with: 

  • compiling and promoting research findings through our series of publications
  • sharing research and expertise through policy events and workshops
  • funding and supporting Policy Fellowships to undertake a social science project that can  substantially contribute to policy
  • brokering links with Government Departments and Devolved Administrations through the Understanding Society Co-Funders Group - and with other non-academic organisations
  • jointly producing exemplary impact case studies, demonstrating how the research is making a difference to policy, practice and science.

Share your research with policymakers

Many government departments now set out information on their research needs and development plans. These are designed to facilitate a constructive dialogue between academic researchers and policymakers. 

Each department has published an Area of Research Interest statement (ARIs) which aim to improve how government departments: 

  • align scientific and research evidence from academia with policy development and decision-making
  • engage with researchers
  • access stronger policy evidence bases at better value for money
  • share research commissions

You can explore how your research, expertise or prospective new research project fits with ARIs by looking at the individual plans here

Impact resources

ESRC Impact Toolkit

This toolkit is aimed at social science researchers applying for and receiving funding from Economic and Social Research Council. It defines impact, sets out the principles you should be aware of when applying for funding, and provides advice and guidance on preparing pathways to impact statements. Information on communication activities provides tips on how to get your research across effectively to your target audience.

What works in the use of evidence? 

This discussion paper by the Alliance for Useful Evidence examines the science behind methods to change people’s motivation, capacity or opportunity to use research. Underpinned by a systematic review of over 150 possible interventions from the research literature, this discussion paper sets out what we know about what works in encouraging the use of research. 

Communicating resarch for evidence-based policymaking

This guide for researchers in socio-economic sciences and humanities by the European Commission offers practical advice on how to build a functional communications interface between researchers and policymakers. It is specifically tailored to meet the needs of those involved in EU-funded socio-economic research projects

Writing and presenting statistics

This information by the Government Statistical Service (GSS) has relevance for quantitative researchers as well and provides useful guidance. It explains how to how to adopt a journalistic style to structuring information to tell ‘statistical stories’ using effective graphs and tables. Covering the communication and dissemination of official statistics, it provides links to useful external content.

Perspectives on research impact

LSE Impact Blog

This is an impact hub for anyone interested in maximising the impact of academic work in social sciences and other disciplines. It encourages debate, sharing best practice and keeping the impact community up to date with news, events and the latest research.

Alliance for Useful Evidence

The Alliance’s network promotes the use of high quality evidence to inform decisions on strategy, policy and practice. This is through advocacy, publishing ‘research on research use’, sharing ideas and advice, and holding events and training.

Data Impact Blog

The Data Impact blog is run by the UK Data Service and is a hub for researchers, students, communities, policy-makers, government and anyone interested in maximising the impact of social, population and economic data in research and policy. It aims to encourage debate, share best practice and keep the data impact community up to date with news, events and data-driven impactful research and policy making.