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.

Theory of change and stakeholder analysis examples, tools and capacity building

An example solution package:

Digital data collection, management and analysis solutions: Theory of change and stakeholder identification/analysis

(1) Provision of a theory of change survey solution that can be used to generate the needed inputs for creating theory of change models and diagrams. This survey solution yields results that are pre-analysed / pre-prepared for creation of theories of change.

(2) Provision of an off-the-shelf solution for stakeholder identification and analysis to feed into the theory of change and impact planning process (addresses interests, influences and impacts). The automated survey platform and data management/analysis for these solutions is provided by Qualia Analytics (, and is included. This solution is available for use for all of the institution’s case studies for the next REF. The solution includes GDPR-compliant data storage for up to 10 years.

One impact case study theory of change exemplar

The IMI team will take responsibility for ensuring successful delivery of professional-standard theories of change, including high-quality diagrams and underpinning (supporting) evidence (as well as needed advice and support for the case study authors). This exemplar case will be screened by the expert team to ensure it is compliant with REF rules and maximise impact scoring in every way feasible. This will be a living example, with an initial phase of theory of change development, followed up with ongoing data collection and analysis to establish the evidence base needed to substantiate the claims in the impact cases (support to carry on up to the deadline for closing the impact case study ahead of submission).

Training, including institutional (unlimited) subscription to the self-paced course Introduction to Evaluation (which includes training on theories of change), as well as a total of four live training sessions (3-hour online workshops) with Professors Reed and Jensen on theory of change and impact evaluation.

Cost: £44,950 (inc. of VAT)

(Option to add more full-service exemplar impact cases for theory of change and evidence for an additional £18,000 per case)


£145 (inc. of VAT) per one-hour ‘surgery’ session with Prof. Eric Jensen. Expert guidance to support development of high-quality evidence-gathering and substantiation of impact claims.


£750 (inc. of VAT) day rate for Prof. Eric Jensen and his team at IMI to aid in development of evaluation instruments, analysis plans, conducting data analyses, preparation of data visualizations, evidence or theory of change diagrams and report write-ups (external evaluation reports that can be made publicly available are an option).