REF Impact Services

Competitive scoring of impact cases for the next REF will be driven by the ability to clearly articulate and substantiate impact claims with evidence. Both aspects can be enabled by using theories of change, targeted training and expert support.


Mapping and Evidencing

Our facilitated process of creating theories of change will:

  1. Identify opportunities to capitalize on impact
  2. Clarify pathways to impact
  3. Enable robust evidence gathering and substantiation of REF impact cases

How It Works

  1. Analyzing what, how, where, and why the university’s research delivers benefit for external groups
  2. Providing evidence and examples of impacts within the logical, evidence-informed structure of theories of change
  3. Offering practical recommendations for enhancing knowledge exchange and impact

In addition to perusing relevant documentation, we propose a mixed methods approach to data collection, building from online surveys and supplementing where needed with interviews. Theory of change diagrams will be prepared based on this evidence to show the pathways through which impacts will be or have been achieved in each of the case studies supported through this proposal.


  1. Empirically validated understanding of research impact
  2. Retrospective accounting of the impact process
  3. Encouraging institution-wide consideration of impact pathways
  4. Establishing a strong foundation for future impact strategies, planning, and evaluation
  5. Embedding capacity building for the institution

Examples from a previous institutional impact evaluation conducted using this approach:

Presentation slides

Click on the image to enlarge the diagram

Click on the image to enlarge the diagram