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Impact Evidence Form

Guidance from HEIF on the types of Impact evidence that can be collected has been adapted a little for a Physics context and is described below.

Please take some time to think about each section in the form below as you complete it, with your own impact case study in mind.

We need this information in order to help case study PIs secure impact evidence and also for a forthcoming REG meeting in early Autumn, at which all Physics impact case studies will be reviewed by a group lead by the Pro-VC for research.



Awards (or prizes) – for the Case Study Lead or the work itself, that ideally include comments from competition judges and other experts demonstrating how the research led to recognition from stakeholders.

Why is the Awards evidence useful? Because Awards and other recognition show best performance following direct comparison with other similar projects.

Things to be aware of with Awards evidence. There should really be clear evidence that the awards are as a result of the research/impact/innovation. Additional information may be beneficial to show that the research improved standards to award winning levels.

The evidence could include :
• Comments from awarding bodies
•Testimonials from those on the judging panels.


This evidence should really be independent (i.e. not just statements from the PI) and please check that it will fall within the relevant time frame. It should be clear how the PI’s published research led to benefits that could be income, money saved or jobs created for example. Evidence about spin-outs should show that the companies are commercially active including things sales revenue, turnover, investment raised or numbers of employees.

Why is this evidence useful? Because it demonstrates the value that the research has accumulated. Sales revenues or investment gains also show impact whereas the registration of companies and agreements to work with industry without actual sales are not strictly impact.

Things to watch out for: It may not be clear how this directly links to the research without additional testimonials or other qualitative evidence.

Examples of evidence that come under this heading include :
• Intellectual property records – particularly that the research lead to the creation of the business or IP was licensed with some indication of arising sales.
• Testimonials from company founders.
• Changes in revenue or investment in a spin-out or a company licensing IP from us.
• Change in number of jobs.
• Investment gained (not research grants, but innovation funding would be ok).
• Reports about research projects undertaken and the results.


Do you have any statistics about anyone who has gained new qualifications as these can show impacts on professional ability or capability.

Why might it be useful to obtain this information? It is relatively cheap to collect this data; for example, you (or someone else) could survey alumni or use online tools such as LinkedIn to try and get the information.

Things to watch out for: A survey will only give a sample of responses. It may also be difficult to attribute changes in skills to one research piece or training programme.

The types of evidence could include:
• Testimonials from organisations or individuals.
• Comparisons with control groups who did not have access to the training that might have delivered benefits.


Patents can be used as proof of the innovative nature of research while licenses/ sales show the commercial viability of the offer.

Why is this evidence useful? Because it may be indicative of how innovative the research is, or that others see commercial value in the outcomes of the research.

Things to watch out for: This evidence doesn’t necessarily show whether the innovation has been exploited and therefore actually made a difference (had any impact).
The attribution of a patent or license to the published research may be difficult – but at this stage we should record anything even if we feel it may be tenuous.

Types of evidence:
• Patent details / license descriptions.
• Evidence of funding to support exploiting the research.
• Evidence of increases in sales.


Reports should be from an independent body, ideally directly mentioning the research and how it has affected stakeholders. It could be a small self-contained internal report or a published external report fro a company, NGO, Government department, external research organisation or any other external organisation. Where reports mention audience figures or user data, it is helpful to also have some evidence showing the difference made to the user or audience. Sometimes these reports are not with the organisation that we deal with directly – it could be from an organisation that they supply thing to for example.

Why are reports useful? They are independent written documents and may include useful quantitative descriptions.

Things to watch out for: The reports may not specifically show what difference the specific research has made. In which case could we approach the organisation for a separate statement?

Types of evidence:
• Company reports (Annual / shareholder / sales / user feedback / technical – internal or published).
• Statistical reports.
• Testimonials may be needed to describe the link between the reported impacts and the research.


A testimonial letter, email or statement should be from an independent, well-respected figure, directly mentioning the research work and how it has affected them, their company, customers or any other area of impact. Where possible, the statement could include quantitative examples of impact, so it pays to give a little thought as to what you would like to ask the testimonial author to cover.

Why is a testimonial useful ? Because it can show specifically how the research led to the impact, and it can be particularly valuable where other written evidence may be difficult to obtain.

Things to watch out for: Ideally these should be from senior figures or other experts in relevant organisations, and the more independent of the PI the better. Testimonials can be seen as inherently biased in favour of the researcher.

Types of evidence:
• Quantitative reports / letters / statements showing the difference made.
• Emails may be acceptable, but there is a suspicion that hardcopies on headed paper would be stronger.


The best examples of media coverage are those mentioning or directly linking the underpinning research to a change. Media coverage could also show how research has
informed public debate or influenced a process, policy or standard for example. The focus on any media report should ideally be on what the beneficiary gets out of it.

Why is media coverage useful? It is an independent report of the impact that also reaches a large audience or the media event itself can be the mechanism to deliver impact. Media coverage can show how awareness about a topic has been raised. It could also show how research has informed public debate, policy or standards.

Things to watch out for: Media coverage in itself does not necessarily show what has changed as a result of the underpinning research. Some stories may be seen as sensationalist or an embellishment, which could backfire if seen to go too far.

Types of evidence:
• Quantitative reports e.g. market data showing increase in purchases of technology.
• TV / radio programmes, interviews.
• Online media coverage.
• Newspaper coverage,
• Journal news article or industry focused magazine news item.


The standards / practice guidelines should provide a narrative that shows that research informed guidelines or a standard and a copy of the relevant standard or guidelines should be uploaded as impact evidence.

Why is this type of evidence useful? The professional body promoting the standard or offering the guidelines is often well respected and has a robust process e.g. BSI
This type of evidence can also be a good way to show best practice or the prevention of a risky activity or behaviour.

Things to watch out for: Standards can take a long time to emerge, and are often written whilst the development that they are attempting to cover is in general use. Guidelines may not be followed in practice. There can be a strong overlap between “standards” and “policy change”, but the two are not always the same – for example, whilst there may be a standard, it doesn’t mean that everyone doing a particular measurement has to comply with the standard. Don’t get bogged down with if something is a standard/guideline/policy change – in the first instance please just record it.

Types of evidence:
• A standard (BSI or EU or a standard written by a professional or learned body).
• The actual guidelines that are being used which is linked to the underpinning research.
• Data showing the take up of standards or guidelines in practice and the effect that this has had.


This is obviously a very broad area where impact evidence could be found in a number of forms. Some will overlap strongly with different topics – please don’t worry about this as we can sort that out once we get an overview of the evidence. The best examples of the use of web linked evidence is where the evidence is independent (not on a Warwick webpage), and there is meta-data showing their reach, for example in research paper downloads, other documentation / guidance downloads or even in page visits.

Why is weblink evidence useful ? It can show how effective public engagement has been, and this type of evidence may also be easy to find.

Things to watch out for: Data that is accessed through weblinks do not always show what actions have been taken (impact) as a result of the end user of your research outputs getting hold of information arising from your research.

• Meta-data about the numbers of views and potentially.
• Purchasing data.
• Data showing take up of specific activities / methods.

Documentation directly mentioning the contribution from a piece of research specifically or a series of documents showing a change in public policy as a result of a researcher’s advice. This type of impact is less common in Physics, but there are some examples where research has ultimately led to a change in public policy.

Why is this evidence useful ? Public policy changes could have wide-reaching impacts for example on a wide geographical region or large population.

Thing to watch out for: It may be necessary to show how the policy changes are adopted and the difference this makes. There can be some significant challenges in creating impact for this area, and is is obviously susceptible to the political environment.

Types of evidence for this kind of impact include:
•Further reports about the impact of the legal changes.
•Testimonials relating the research to the changes.
• Petitions data.
• Campaigns data.


“Legal impact evidence” means that there has been some change to legislation as a result of research or researchers’ advice, where again it needs linking back to the original research publication.

Why is this asked for? Changes to the legal process or regulations can have a wide impact (although admittedly this can be an unusual category for Physics).

Things to watch out for: Further evidence may be needed to show the difference made as that is the actual impact e.g. increase in prosecution rates and/or fewer accidents.

Types of evidence:
• Further stakeholder reports about the impact of any legal or legislative changes.
• Testimonials relating the research to the changes.


Again, this area is less likely for Physics to have strong impact evidence in, but there are some case studies being developed where it could arise. Statistics on shared media or information through a “viral” spread, number of followers, impressions or shares can help to show engagement with a particular topic with a specific audience. 

Why is this type of evidence useful ? Because it can show how awareness about a topic has been raised through a (user) community or informed public debate.

Things to watch out for: Social media stats themselves do not show what has changed as a result of any increase in awareness. It is likely to be seen as shallow by a Physics review panel.

Types of evidence could include:
• Quantitative reports e.g. market data showing increased purchases of technology.


Is there any other type of evidence that you think will or could be available for your case study, that does not easily fit into one of the boxes above?
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