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Pathways to Impact are a required part of UKRI grant proposals. In response to a recent report from STFC exploring why Pathways to Impact weren't necessarily delivering impact-generating activities as anticipated, it was found that much clearer information and expectations of what constitutes high-quality Pathways to Impact was required, and thus this guidance document was written. As the introduction to the document explains, "Given the level of competition for research funding, a well-written Pathways to Impact can make the difference between a proposal being funded, rejected, or supported in a timely manner."

The document is intended to be used by those planning their research proposals, and also to be of use as their work progresses. It is also intended to support peer reviewers and panel members to understand what constitutes high quality Pathways to Impact planning.

The document runs through a number of key questions to ask yourself throughout planning, and includes examples of Pathways to Impact with associated feedback. In addition it handily summarises what the common characteristics of high versus poor quality Pathways to Impact look like:

Common characteristics of:

High-quality Pathways to Impact document

Poor-quality Pathways to Impact document

Good consideration of relevant beneficiaries, with activities tailored to the needs of the audience(s) and/or user(s)

Lack of consideration of potential beneficiaries and/or audiences, and a lack of plans to engage; is there a clearly justified need?

Appropriate evidence of the involvement of relevant partners from the outset of planning

Lack of specificity and clear deliverables; a lack of evidence that the non-academic beneficiaries are committed to the project

Clearly focused on an appropriate number of impact-generating routes

Listed activities are not project-specific; trying to do too much

Clear description of appropriate milestones and deliverables

Plan is not forward-looking, and instead dedicates too much space to prior track records

Well-considered evaluation approaches

No evaluation plan in place

Necessary resources are requested and justified

Does not request or justify resources for impact activities