skip to primary navigationskip to content

Impact and Business Engagement Workshops

What is Impact?

Research Councils UK (RCUK) of which the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is a part defines research impact as 'the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy'. Research impact embraces all the diverse ways that research-related skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations. These include:

  • fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom
  • increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy
  • enhancing quality of life, health and creative output.
Academic Impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to scientific advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, method, theory and application. Economic and Societal Impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to society and the economy, of benefit to individuals, organisations and nations.

The impact of social science research can be categorised as:

  • Instrumental: influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour
  • Conceptual: contributing to the understanding of policy issues, reframing debates
  • Capacity building: through technical and personal skill development.

ESRC provides a great range of information and a helpful toolkit on Pathways to Impact on its website (

ESRC DTP Workshop: 'Awareness to Impact'

To provide awareness in terms of career preparation, the ESRC DTP is launching the ‘awareness to impact’ workshop. This is an interactive workshop that aims to cover what impact is in the social sciences introducing a range of impacts: economic/business; policy and public services; public engagement and cultural etc.

ESRC DTP students will be introduced to steps that can take to make plans in impact area.  Following with engagement with non-academic partners and examples from students and academics that created impact through internships and funded ESRC research projects will be explored. Concluding with exploring avenues of impact from your own research; map stakeholders that you might be interested; how to approach them; next steps that you would take, and finally include steps to take to become more knowledge to work in policy or impact or industry.

This is a workshop designed for first and second year PhD students, however all PhD students are welcome.


‘Pathways to Impact’ Cross-Discipline Workshop

This interactive workshop will be delivered by the ESRC, EPSRC and BBSRC University Impact Facilitators and will focus on practicing writing Pathways to Impact statements and reviewing good examples.

  • You will be given an introduction to Pathways to Impact (P2Is) – what they are, what they should include, what they shouldn’t include, etc.
  • You will then be split into groups to look at an actual P2I and the Impact Summary. You will critique and feedback to the group.
  • The workshop will finish with a review of good P2I practice and then a Q&A session.

According to RCUK, “a clearly thought through and acceptable Pathways to Impact is an essential component of a research proposal and a condition of funding.” The ability to write a compelling P2I Statement is an essential skill whether you remain in academic or choose another career path post-PhD.

This is a workshop designed for second and third year PhD students, however all PhD students are welcome.

'Business Awareness' course

The Cambridge ESRC DTP-IAA offers a free one-day training course to PhD students and Postdocs on Business awareness. The course is aimed to assist students, postdoctoral researchers or those in a transitional phase (e.g. just submitted and before viva) understand how businesses operate and to develop skills valuable to future employees. Many businesses are looking for graduate employees with commercial awareness to enable them to work effectively in the workplace.

This fun, one day, interactive course includes 'The Frame Game' to give you a taste of the commercial world. Delivery is by the Institute of Manufacturing's experienced industry and academic staff.  So, book a place to:

  •  Experience how a business works
  •  Explore a range of key business issues including working with customers, different business models and working as a team
  • Develop skills around developing and communicating your research and project