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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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

May 30, 2016

In this episode, Mark explains the three most common motives for researchers to engage with the impact agenda. He then provides tips on how to translate these motives into priorities that can drive action.

May 23, 2016

In this episode, Mark walks you through seven questions that will give you a social media strategy to power your research to impact:


1. What do you want to achieve through social media?
2. Who are you trying to reach through social media and what are they interested in?
3. How can you move from a “lurker” to a content maker?
4. Who can you work with to make your use of social media more efficient and effective?
5. How can you make your content actionable, shareable and rewarding for those who interact with you? 
6. How can you monitor and evaluate your social media plan? 
7. How does your social media strategy contribute towards your wider impact strategy?
Download your own social media strategy template at:
May 15, 2016

In this episode, Mark interviews the brains behind @CECHR_OuD to reveal how she reached 87,000 followers in four years, currently growing at 150 followers per day, to become one of the most influential research institutional Twitter accounts in the world. 

Mark also describes six things you can do to grow your influence on social media: 

1.Have a social media strategy: know your audience, add value to them and actively promote your research
2.Focus on Twitter (and LinkedIn if you’ve got time)
3.Be credible: be professional and link to content
4.Be visual: stand out from the crowd
5.Tweet at the right time: audience time zone and engagement peak times
6.Curate your top 3 tweets and have a follow/unfollow strategy
The Centre of Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) is a partnership between the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute. Find out more about their work here:
May 9, 2016

In this episode Mark discusses how you can build a network of people who can empower you to have the impacts you want.

May 2, 2016

In this episode, Mark interviews Rosmarie Katrin Neumann about her work as a knowledge broker, and asks if we might all as researchers, be able to do more to act as knowledge brokers. 

Find out more about Rosi's work at!knowledge-brokerage/eazc2 or find her on Twitter at: @RosmarieKatrin 

Apr 11, 2016

In this episode, Mark explores the range of reasons why people engage with research. 

He describes research in which he people who had engaged with researchers what had motivated their engagement, and these were the most common reasons people cited:

·       Accessing future funding and new business opportunities

·       Developing new solutions to old problems

·       Increasing personal impact/influence through collaboration with researchers

·       Intrinsic motivation to “make the world a better place” or a desire to learn about the issues being researched

Bear these motives in mind, and see if you can work out which of these motives apply to the people you want to work with. By tapping into their motives, and explaining clearly how working with you can achieve what they want, you are much more likely to get the level of engagement you want.

Apr 4, 2016

In this episode, Mark gives you a sneak peak behind the scenes of his new book, The Research Impact Handbook, and tells you how you can write a book in a week.

Key points:

  • Reasons why you might choose to self-publish your next book, rather than going with a traditional academic publisher (or not)
  • The personal story behind The Research Impact Handbook, including the sentence that breaks a lifetime of silence and shame
  • How you can write a book in a week by breaking the task down into manageable tasks that can be compiled into a book easily, in just a week
  • The key is to confront your fear of putting something imperfect into the world and receiving criticism, and start putting out things that are "good enough" and improving and extending your work progressively - what Jeff Ollson calls "the slight edge"
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