Fast Track Impact

The podcast for researchers who want to be more productive and achieve real-world impacts from their research.
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Fast Track Impact



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Dec 3, 2018

This week, Mark considers the moral premise of responsible policy engagement and discusses four ways that researchers often inadvertently lose the trust of members of the policy community. Using his four-step check-list, you can make sure your policy engagement is on the right side of your morals and engage more confidently in challenging policy contexts.  

Nov 27, 2018

This week, Mark considers how you can learn from your experience in the lecture theatre to become more effective in your generation of impact, and how impact can inspire better learning and teaching. He also considers how you can evidence pedagogical impacts from your research, and design interventions in the classroom that can affect change well beyond the academy. 

Nov 23, 2018

This week, Mark draws on his experience writing bids, as a reviewer and on funding panels, to explain how to write the impact sections of a grant proposal. Funders are increasingly expecting researchers to consider the likely impact of their work, and increasing weight is being given to impact in funding decisions. So it is worth getting it right...

Nov 15, 2018

This week, Mark considers how researchers can become more authentic, and how this can reduce the likelihood of imposter syndrome and help you grow in confidence. To do this, he discusses the daily practice of letting go of who we think we should be and embracing who we are, having the courage to be imperfect, and the need to cultivate compassion with clear boundaries. 

Nov 8, 2018

This week, Mark interviews Karen Laing, Senior Research Associate and Co-Director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University. Karen has been studying co-production manuals and is developing her own guide for researchers who want to work more closely with their publics and stakeholders to co-produce research and impact. Find out more about Karen's work at:

Nov 1, 2018

On Monday this week, Mark was at a Royal Society conference on changing research culture, where he was awarded a prize for changing research culture with colleagues Rich Young and Tanya Collavo. Find out about their idea to create a Tinder for researchers and hear ideas that emerged from the conference via interviews with participants. 

Oct 25, 2018

This week, Mark revisits his most recent book, The Productive Researcher, published a year ago this month. As he has taken the book on the road over the last year, he has been challenged by numerous questions and objections, which he addresses in this episode, giving you a short-cut to the core lessons of the book whilst helping to apply these lessons to some of the more challenging contexts that colleagues have presented him with during trainings. To get your copy of the book, visit

Oct 17, 2018

In this episode, Mark explores how you can become more resilient as a researcher, using grant and publication rejection and workplace bullying as examples. Strategies based on robustness and rapid recovery may work in some circumstances, but adaptive and transformative strategies have the potential to give us longer term resilience to a wider range of unpredictable challenges, in some cases transforming pain into the richest experiences of our careers.

Oct 17, 2018

This week, Mark asks questions that can enable you to achieve impacts from your research that disrupt old ways of doing things and lead to fundamental transformations in organisations and society. Based on different ways of conceptualising resilience, this episode will make you rethink your ambitions for impact to dream bigger and achieve transformational change. 

The questions:

1. How can my research strengthen people and organisations so that they are able to withstand or resist change, and continue to provide or get the outcomes or benefits they need?

2. Can my research enable a person or organisation to change what it does and how it does things so that they can protect their core mission and still achieve the things that are most important to them?

3. How can my research enable people to look completely differently at old problems, or disrupt old ways of doing things, so that people and organisations can do completely new things in new ways that are actually valued more than the old ways of doing things and the things they produced?

4. Can my research help a person or organisation become more robust so they can resist change and maintain what’s most important to them in a changing world?

Oct 8, 2018

This week Mark looks at emerging evidence that the impact agenda is creating institutional cultures that can lead to unintended negative outcomes. What are the motivational levers we can use to inspire colleagues to engage with impact for diverse and healthy reasons, and what mix of extrinsic incentives should accompany such a bottom-up and empathic approach to creating an impact culture? Mark defines three elements of an impact culture and asks practical questions that can enable you to characterise the impact culture of your own group, and decide what strengths you can build on and the things you might want to do differently. 

Sep 27, 2018

This week Mark shows how you can use seven elements of powerful stories to plan for and create impacts that engage and inspire. He uses examples from The Lord of The Rings, and two impact from his own research on peatlands and research impact. The seven points are: 1) Know who you want to benefit and treat them as the “hero” and you as the “guide” in your pathway to impact; 2) identify the external and internal problems your publics and stakeholders face and care about deeply; 3) be a guide who enables your publics and stakeholders to become the hero in their own story; 4) give them a plan to engage more deeply and learn about your work and/or act on what they learn; 5) make a call to action and give people concrete opportunities to put their newfound knowledge into practice; 6) identify what your audience has at stake if they don’t solve the problem - what is the cost of inaction or failure; 7) help people visualise what success might look like for them. To download the publics/stakeholder analysis template mentioned in this episode, visit

Sep 25, 2018

In the first episode of Season 3, Mark shares two new definitions he has developed that will enable you to become crystal clear about what impact is (and is not). He then introduces his impact typology from the second edition of The Research Impact handbook, and explains how you can use it as a checklist to identify impact goals for research proposal and to design an evaluation of your impact that captures the full depth and breadth of benefits that arose from your research. Get your copy of The Research Impact Handbook at: or view online at  

Oct 9, 2017

In this final episode of the second series, Mark interviews Dr Jenn Chubb about how students can generate impact during their PhD. This is a critical look at both the benefits and the challenges of working with publics and stakeholders alongside your PhD, and Mark and Jenn suggest creative ways you can pursue impact without compromising your PhD. 

Read Jenn and Mark's blog, 5 ways to fast track the impact of your PhD:

Oct 2, 2017

This week, Mark updates on progress towards publishing The Productive Researcher, which is out on 11th October.

Find out more about the launch event and book your free place:

Read more about the process of self-publishing the book: publish-your-next-book  



Sep 25, 2017

This week, Mark interviews Sarah Cook from University of Dundee and Liz Oughton from Newcastle University to explore the potential for researchers to collaborate with creative arts practitioners to generate new insights and impact as part of the research process. Rather than seeing arts as an "add-on" to help communicate research findings, is it possible to engage more meaningfully to enhance both your research and impact? 

CRE artist in residence programme

Sarah Cook

Liz Oughton


Sep 10, 2017

This week Mark interviews researchers who have gone from having no experience working with business to working closely with industry to realise impacts from the research. Andy Pickard and Nigel Paul give Mark a tour of Lancaster Environment Centre which hosts the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation. Find out more at:

Sep 10, 2017

Mark interview's Ged Hall from University of Leeds to find out how researchers can get support from professional services staff and other researchers to empower them to achieve impact. Whether you are a researcher or a member of professional services staff, this episode is packed full of ideas for working more efficiently with your colleagues, so you can achieve more impact, more effectively in less time.

Sep 3, 2017

This is the second week that Mark is reading from his forthcoming book, The Productive Researcher. In this episode, Mark explains how researchers can reconceptualise themselves to sharpen their focus and get better work-life balance, using an exercise that interrogates your identity as a researcher, the values connected to this and the amount of time you spend being different parts of yourself.

Read Andrew Scott's book:

Follow Phil Ward's award-winning blog:

Find out how Ana Atlee is changing the world:

Aug 29, 2017

In this bonus episode, Mark talks about his latest paper, "A theory of participation". Although rooted in research on the environment, the paper provides principles that can help people working in any context understand how to design processes that deliver impact. 

Full text available here:

Aug 29, 2017

This week, Mark explores the factors that increase motivation so you can become more productive in your work and find time and energy to generate more impact. This is based on an excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Productive Researcher. In the research tip this week, Mark shares some of his favourite tools from QMUL's forthcoming Public Engagement Evaluation Toolkit.

Aug 18, 2017

This week Mark looks at a variety of ways you can collect evidence to demonstrate whether or not your research has had (or is having) impact. This is important to help correct our course, so we know when things aren't going according to plan, and to provide information to funders and other stakeholders who want to know that you made a difference. He focuses on methods that can be used by any researcher, including a number of creative techniques that take the pain out of evidencing impact.

In this week's tip, as a researcher who has been cited >10,000 times, Mark tells you the secrets of writing a highly cited paper or book. 

To find out more about the Fast Track Impact Evernote impact tracking system at:

Aug 13, 2017

In this week's episode, Mark discusses four questions that can help you develop a social media strategy that can efficiently drive impact from your research. You don't have to write anything down - if you can answer these four questions in your head, you've got yourself a social media strategy. Mark provides a worked example of answers to the four questions, and shows how he used them to develop a LinkedIn strategy for a research impact that drove real world impacts. 

Aug 7, 2017

In this episode, Mark discusses how researchers can get more out of their digital footprint, enhancing both their research and impact, without spending too much time or risking their reputation. In this episode, he steers clear of social media, looking at what you can do to manage a sprawling or fractured digital footprint, and make sure you don't waste time updating multiple sites that rapidly become out of date. It is about getting more out of your time online, so you use your time more efficiently. 

Jul 28, 2017

In this first episode of the second series Prof Mark Reed discusses how to do public engagement or impact, not just for the hell of it. A lot of public engagement is done because it is a good thing to do full stop, which is fine. But how do you know you are actually making a difference, and how can you ensure that all the work you put in really does have a beneficial impact on people?

Jun 9, 2016

In this episode, Mark is at the ARMA 2016 conference (Association of Research Managers and Administrators) to hear what leading thinkers think about the future of research impact. He interviews Phillip Ward from the University of Kent who won an ARMA award for his blog, Fundermentals, James Wilson, Professor of Research Policy from University of Sheffield, and Fiona Collegian, the founder of Piirus, with her colleague Jenny Delasalle, freelance copywriter and librarian, and editor of the Piirus Blog. 

Read the Fundermentals blog at: (or follow him on Twitter @frootle)

Find out more about Prof Wilsdon's work at: (or follow him on Twitter @jameswilsdon)

Find out more about Piirus at: or follow them on Twitter @piirus_com

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