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Impact Overview

SFI Agenda 2020 sets out a vision in which Ireland will, by 2020, be the best country in the world for both scientific research excellence and impact. While SFI continues to focus on scientific excellence, we now apply an equal focus on impact across a portfolio of programmes. SFI defines impact as the “demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy” SFI classifies the impacts of scientific research according to 8 pillars which are underpinned by 3 thematic areas (see diagram below) SFI defined this framework as part of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative “Broadening the Scope of Impact” 



SFI has always asked applicants to articulate the value of their research to Ireland but is expanding and refining this aspect of research proposals and in the evaluation of award progress and will use experts in the translation, commercialisation and development of scientific research to evaluate research impact as an important and integral part of our review processes. The objectives of SFI’s impact assessment are as follows:

  • To stimulate researchers to consider how best to maximise the impact of their research and how to maximise the engagement of users of their research
  • To actively demonstrate the contributions and benefits of publicly funded research to society and the economy and, in doing so, demonstrate the value of publicly funded investment in R&D
  • To better understand the transfer of scientific knowledge into practice, strengthen the system and structures for this transfer and so maximise the use and benefits of publicly funded research.

As part of the annual reporting guidelines, all of SFI awardees are provided with a list of 10 Impact ‘declarations’ or statements.  At least one statement must be selected but awardees are encouraged to rank up to 5 statements, starting with the number 1 (being the most relevant). Awardees are then asked to provide more details justifying the statements selected.  The Impact declarations help SFI to quantify the types of impacts coming from the various SFI Programmes.  Each declaration statement can be aligned with at least one of the Types of Impact.