Pathways to impact

UK Research and Innovation has recently announced changes to requirements on ‘Pathways to Impact’. As a result of this change, you will no longer be required to provide a ‘Pathways to Impact’ plan or complete an ‘Impact Summary’ within your grant proposal.

These requirements will be removed for all UKRI opportunities by 1 March 2020, so the section and attachment type will disappear from any proposal “under preparation” by applicants or research offices by 1 March.

All research grant and fellowship applicants must consider how they will or might achieve impact outside the scientific community.

Excellence with impact is a central goal for NERC and all the research councils. NERC aims to deliver maximum economic and societal benefits from its investments, to support UK economic competitiveness, to make public services and policy more effective, and to improve people's health and wellbeing.

To achieve this we need excellent impact activities, which anticipate and deliver the needs of the ultimate users of our science, whether they are in business, policy, the third-sector, the wider public or other groups.

The research councils' policy is that grant applicants are responsible for considering how their research can achieve excellence with impact.

By capturing and communicating the impact of those activities, to government and other key stakeholders, NERC can demonstrate the importance of environmental science and make sure government continues to support your work.

A separate Pathways to Impact statement is no longer required, but applicants must still consider how they will or might achieve impact throughout their projects and include this as part of their Case for Support. Activities to realize impact do not have to be cost-incurring, but relevant costs can be included and must be fully justified within the Justification of Resources statement. The Case for Support page limit will not be increased as a result of this change.


Research grant proposals will continue to be assessed and ranked on research excellence (and fit to call for strategic calls).

Fellowship proposals are assessed based on leadership potential of the applicant and science excellence.

NERC may fund well-justified, high-quality non-academic impact activities identified in your proposal to make sure they are delivered effectively as part of the grant. Impact activities should be project-specific and not generalised.


Queries relating to Pathways to Impact should be directed to .