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 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"
Mar 28, 2016

In this episode, Mark presents eight powerful questions that will enable you to envision the impacts your research might have. Whether you already have a defined impact goal and plan, or you don't know where to start, these questions will help you get a clear idea of the impacts you could achieve from your research:

  1. What aspects of your research might be interesting or useful to someone, or could you (or someone else) build upon to create something interesting or useful at some point in the future?
  2. Going beyond your research for a moment, think of issues, policy areas, sectors of the economy, practices, behaviours, trends etc. that link in some way to your research. What problems or needs are there in these places, and what are the barriers that are preventing these issues from being resolved? Could your research help address these needs and barriers in some way?
  3. What is the most significant area of current policy, practice or business that your research might change or disrupt?
  4. Which are the individuals, groups or organisations that might be interested in this aspect of your research (whether now or in future)?
  5. What aspects of your research are they likely to be most interested in, and what would need to happen for this to become more relevant to them? What could you do differently to make your work more relevant to these people? Who would you need help from?
  6. If these people took an interest in or used your research, what would change?
  7. Might you see changes in individuals, groups, organisations, or at a societal or some other level?
  8. Would these changes be beneficial or might some groups be disadvantaged in some way as a result of your research?
Mar 22, 2016

In this episode, Mark shares five ways you can enhance the impact of your research. He illustrates each of the five principles with practical suggestions about ways you can generate impacts from your research. 


Principle 1: Design

Know the impacts you want to achieve and design impact into your research from the start:

  • Set impact and knowledge exchange goals from the outset
  • Make a detailed impact plan
  • Build in flexibility to your plans so they can respond to changing user needs and priorities
  • Find skilled people (and where possible financial resources) to support your impact


Principle 2: Represent

Systematically represent the needs and priorities of those who will use your research:

  • Systematically identify individuals, groups, organisations and publics that are likely to be interested in, use or benefit from your research
  • Identify stakeholders who could help or block you, or who might be disadvantaged by your work
  • Revisit who you’re working with as your context and stakeholder/public needs and interests change
  • Embed key stakeholders in your research
  • Consider the ethical implications of engaging with different stakeholders at different stages of the research cycle


Principle 3: Engage

Build long-term, two-way, trusting relationships with those who will use your research and co-generate new knowledge together:

  • Have two-way dialogue as equals with likely users of your research
  • Build long-term relationships with the users of your research
  • Work with knowledge brokers and professional facilitators
  • Understand what will motivate research users to get involved
  • Work with stakeholders to interpret findings and co-design communication products


Principle 4: Early impacts

Deliver tangible results as soon as possible to keep people engaged with your work. Identify quick wins where tangible impacts can be delivered as early as possible in the research process, to reward and keep likely users of research engaged with the research process.


Principle 5: Reflect and sustain

Keep track of your progress towards impact, so you can improve your knowledge exchange, and continue nurturing relationships and generating impacts in the long term:

  • Track your impacts
  • Regularly reflect on your knowledge exchange with research team and stakeholders
  • Learn from peers and share good practice
  • Identify what knowledge exchange needs to continue after the end of the project and consider how to generate long-term impacts
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