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Pathways to Impact: Impact core to the UK Research and Innovation application process


Pathways to Impact: Impact core to the UK Research and Innovation application process

As part of a package of announcements today, UK Research and Innovation has announced changes to our requirements on ‘Pathways to Impact’.

UK Research and Innovation’s ambition is to create a stronger research and innovation environment that is focussed on supporting talented people and realising the full potential of their work.

Applicants to UK Research and Innovation – including the Research Councils – will no longer be required to provide a ‘Pathways to Impact’ plan or complete an ‘Impact Summary’ within grant applications from 1 March 2020.

The impact agenda is vital - UK Research and Innovation 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 in place for over a decade and we recognise the research and innovation landscape has changed since its implementation. Impact is now a core consideration throughout the grant application process.

To reflect this culture change we must examine how we operate and decide what steps we can take as a funder to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes we use. UK Research and Innovation has therefore decided to remove the requirement for applicants to submit a Pathways to Impact plan for its schemes. This change will come into effect from 1 March 2020.

There is a recognition that Pathways to Impact has been important in driving this culture change and the requirement to capture this in a separate section is no longer needed.

Research and Innovation UK Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: "Throughout 2020, UKRI will be strengthening our strategy, our operations and the systems we use.  We have made it a priority to ensure these systems and processes free up researchers and innovators to focus on their work, whilst at the same time supporting us to make the best funding decisions. In doing this, we will be driven by the expertise across our communities.”

‘Pathways to Impact’ is a section of the current research grant application process where researchers must detail the actions they will take to increase the chances of their research findings reaching key stakeholders. Further details on these changes will be reflected in the individual call guidance.

Over the next 12 months, UKRI will be piloting simpler, streamlined application and assessment processes for its research and innovation calls. These pilots will inform changes across UKRI to reduce the burden placed on researchers and innovators applying to UKRI whilst ensuring it continues to invest in the best ideas and people.

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