Research impact

Research Impact is defined as a demonstrable effect, change or benefit that excellent research makes to the economy, health, quality of life, policy, society, culture and our environment beyond academia. At Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), our commitment to the Common Good is realised through our applied research which addresses three major societal challenges of inclusive societies, healthy lives and sustainable environments. We recognise that research impact can be generated at any stage in the research lifecycle and may even be a precursor to stimulating new avenues of research

The impact of our research on the wider world has achieved recognition through the Research Excellence Framework (REF),and most recently through our alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we were ranked 43rd in the world for social impact in the Times Higher Impact rankings 2020

Research Impact and COVID-19

COVID-19 has laid bare not only the health challenges but wider social and economic challenges, and even injustices, faced by communities and societies. Therefore, as the University for the Common Good, the pandemic has only reinforced Glasgow Caledonian’s commitment to the SDGs. That commitment is demonstrated here through the many, and multi-disciplinary, contributions of our research community to addressing COVID-19 and its wider implications

Our approach to impact at GCU

Here at the GCU we understand that research impact happens through the process of knowledge exchange, dissemination of research findings, research translation, and co-production of knowledge where ideas are developed with individuals, stakeholders, and organisations to put ideas into practice. Our research excellence is focused within our internationally recognised research centres which form an interdisciplinary platform to generate impact by engaging with and influencing people, communities and organisations in order to change and benefit policy, practice, and the economy.

How we support our researchers to deliver impact

Research impact is intrinsic to the work we do at GCU and, therefore we ensure that it is embedded in all aspects of the research process.  

We offer a wide range of support to our researchers within each of our schools through research advisors and centrally through the Research and Innovation Office who help researchers navigate proposals, awards, and ethics.

Our impact officers provide support and advice on:

  • planning for impact at the grant application stage
  • implementing impact via dissemination of research findings
  • assisting with the coordination of stakeholder meetings
  • liaising with the GCU communications team (hyperlink) to drive research impact into the heart of our communities
  • the measurement of research impact through online surveys at the end of the research life cycle.
GCU Crucible training programme

The Crucible training programme for early career researcher (ECRs) established in 2018 within the School of Health and Life Sciences and recently extended to the whole university in 2019, provides our ECRs key learning skills to embed the impact of research outside of academia. The GCU Crucible programme involves an intensive three-day programme that includes seminars on impact, networking, and working with the media, community engagement, patient and public involvement (PPI) to policy and parliamentary engagement.

Fast track impact

Over the past three years, we have engaged with external impact training consultant Professor Mark Reed of Fast Track Impact to deliver training to ECRs and experienced researchers.

Engaging with policymakers

We also provide policy advice on engaging with and influencing policy and practice through our own bespoken impact and policy workshops, and provide information on policy developments, access to contacts as well as provide guidance on policy briefs for consultations and oral and written evidence to the Scottish Parliament, Westminster and the Scottish Government.

As members of a number of policy networks, we actively engage with policymakers both at the Scottish Government and UK Government level through the Scottish Policy Research Exchange (SPRE), Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN), and Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

GCU Community and Public Engagement

Working closely with GCU Community and Public Engagement we ensure our research reaches and engages with communities locally and internationally.

Case studies  
THE ranking