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Where the pathway ends: Impact goes off-road

Image: Lucas Sampiao [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

What are the implications of UKRI’s altered impact strategy?

So that’s it. On 26 January the government confirmed its intention to cut impact sections from grant applications. RIP Pathways to Impact, then. As we move swiftly through the five stages of collective grief (although according to my Twitter feed many have rapidly bypassed denial and anger and jumped ecstatically to acceptance) we are left wondering what a less tokenistic and administratively lighter impact-afterlife looks like.

Since UK Research and Innovation’s announcement, we have had a series of comprehensive and thoughtful responses from, for example, Research Impact Canada, the London School of Economics, the Institute for Development Studies and, elsewhere in these pages, Kieran Fenby-Hulse from Teesside University. These and others have summarised many of the key reflections, and questioned if impact is still alive (spoiler: yes). Notwithstanding the nuanced commentary of each, they broadly concur on three main things:

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