A webinar designed to help applicants understand impact with guidance on what makes a good impact statement can be found here.
The statement should be as specific as possible and provide information that SFI and external reviewers will find helpful in assessing the potential impact of the proposed research activity. Innovative and creative approaches to engaging beneficiaries and creating impact are strongly encouraged. Appropriate milestones and deliverables associated with the potential impact should be indicated. SFI funds research in very disparate domains hence depending on the nature of the research, the impacts may be short-term, medium-term or longer-term. A credible implementation plan outlines the pathways to impact citing realistic timelines.
As examples, applicants should briefly outline previous indicators of the relevance of their research:
- changes to the state of knowledge within a field
- where past group members have found employment
- industrial interest in their past or current work
- collaborative projects
- VC funding obtained
- companies formed
- problems solved
- documented changes to public policy or guidelines
- improvements in public health
Impact statements should be written primarily in lay non-technical language, be as specific and comprehensive as possible and cover potential impacts by answering the following questions:
In thinking about potential impacts, the following points should be considered:
In summary, a high quality impact statement will include a credible implementation plan outlining pathways to impact citing realistic timelines and stakeholders.
In summary, a poor quality impact statement lacks a credible implementation plan.
As outlined above, on their own the following are not impacts but are considered research outputs:
Publications; presenting research at a conference
While the dissemination of research output is very important, in articulating how it will lead to the utilisation of the outputs, applicants should be specific as to why that publication or conference presentation is important, how it ensures the potential beneficiaries have the opportunity to engage with the research, and how this will be followed up.
Invention disclosures; patent filings
Without being exploited, patents are not impacts, thus applicants should articulate why that intellectual property is important and how it will potentially be utilised subsequently.
The requirements for Impact Statements will vary from programme to programme and will be based on the objectives of a particular programme and the specific call. Details of Impact Statement requirements and how they will be reviewed will be included in the call document for each particular programme call. In nearly all cases, SFI will use international experts with specific/documented interests in impact evaluation from other jurisdictions to review and rank the impact statements of scientifically excellent projects. These impact reviewers have included Company R&D Directors, Heads of Translational Institutes, Senior Technology Transfer Professionals, Investors in scientific/technology early-stage companies, for example.