Research & Innovation Services

When planning a research proposal, it's important to also plan for impact at the outset. This will help you consider who the people are that you can work with to get your research better known and used."  Professor Chris Frost

Step 1: Who could benefit from your research?

(Information for your Impact Summary or Expected Impacts)

What are the differences between the Academic Beneficiaries, Impact Summary and Pathways to Impact sections?

What’s the big picture?

It is helpful to outline what the eventual impact of your research could be, to set the context for your chosen pathway to impact and the steps you will be focussing on.

Stand back from the detail of your research and consider the big picture. What is happening in practice around this area?

Who will use your research?

Once you've considered the big picture start to think about who will use your research (your beneficiaries). Start to map out how those beneficiaries interact with you and how they interact with each other. Don’t forget to consider beneficiaries who may influence others, beneficiaries you may need to work with or get input from and your ultimate beneficiary.

Note: Your research project may not involve all the beneficiaries, but you will be demonstrating your understanding of how the ultimate aim could be achieved.

If you are having trouble listing your users, this diagram of the Potential Beneficiaries may help.

Once you have determined your beneficiaries, provide details of particular sectors and organisations. This will show that you have done some research and made contacts already and if you can’t name organisations then consider how you will find them (you could include this as one of your impact activities).

Note: Funding may be available from your University to meet with organisations.

If you are still struggling find more help to identify your beneficiaries.

Who will exert the most influence?

Once you have determined who your beneficiaries are you need to determine how critical they are to helping your on your pathway to impact. This will help you control where to focus your resources ensuring you maximise the impact of your project.

Consider whether each of your beenficiaries are of primary, secondary or tertiary importance using the following information:

  • primary - beneficiaries, who are critical to either the success of the project or in moving the project forward, for example project partners (short-term)
  • secondary - beneficiaries are not critical to the project but in order to gain impact in the medium term it would be useful if they were aware of any progress
  • tertiary - beneficiaries who are not involved in the project but have the potential for more long-term impacts, by for example using the outputs from the secondary users (like new products).

Find more help in understanding and prioritising your beneficiaries.


Examples of submitted Pathways to Impact written by University of Bath staff.

If you have any questions about the toolkit please contact Alice Hovanessian.