Impact – Irish Research Council

Over the course of 2023, the Irish Research Council is going to highlight some of the particularly impactful projects we have funded, across a number of our research funding schemes. 

But what is research impact?

The IRC considers impact to encompass how research benefits society, in a wide variety of ways.

The Irish Research Council’s Strategic Plan emphasises the importance of the impact of academic research in its continuous engagement with civic society partners and international collaborators.

We encourage researchers to factor community engagement into their proposals from the outset and to reflect on the ways in which their research can contribute to change by establishing partnerships outside the academic realm.

Throughout their projects, we ask researchers to tell us about the impact that their projects are having, including through diverse activities and outreach, and diverse outputs. We recognise that impact can be apparent from the initial stages of a project in some cases, however is more likely to emerge over time, including beyond the duration of a funded project.

In line with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment principles, and the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, we believe that each research project should be assessed on its own merits and that its impact should be viewed through a lens that does not focus only on a strictly academic assessment of the research. Instead the assessment of research impact should prioritize determining the projects’ influence through a dialogue established between the  researchers and society.

The kind of impact that research can have may include:

Infographic displaying 'Some of the Impact Research Can Have', listing

We have worked closely with Campus Engage, who have developed a number of ‘how to’ guides on Engaged Research for Societal Impact for key stakeholders. We recommend that researchers draw on these guides when thinking about how to develop societally impactful research, as they carry out their research, and when it comes to reporting on the impact of their research.

This section of the Irish Research Council’s website provides insight into the various ways in which research across all disciplines, from quantum physics to literary studies, improves our lives through creating knowledge and informing policy. It highlights a sample of the excellent projects funded by the Irish Research Council across our suite of programmes and their contribution to the enhancement of our society and impact on the individual researchers’ careers and their future successes.

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