What does impact mean to a researcher?

Researchers at KI can contribute by sharing results and by offering their competencies and services to others, and thus create an impact from their work.

Contribute contribution

Being a contributor means that:

  • you are focused on sharing and thus open to others’ input, ideas and feedback
  • can be less defensive: you can invite others in without fear that they will take something away from you and be less concerned with who gets credit
  • you strive for excellence because you want to do your best in order to fullfil your commitment

How can a researcher identify with and drive impact?

Researchers are usually trained to do their research and publish their results, and it is important to measure the spread of their knowledge. However, both within academia and beyond, there is a rising interest in impact in terms of creating a positive benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy, health services and quality of life.

Share your knowledge and results

Share knowledge workshop meeting lecture work team
Photo: GettyImages.
  • through popular science communication
  • through interaction and collaboration with the public, decision-makers and other stakeholders
  • in order to influence attitudes, perceptions, theories, norms, policies, laws and standards

Make knowledge useful

Network team work collaboration company cooperation connection
Photo: GettyImages.

Knowledge can also be made useful by packaging into products, services, methods or tools which can be implemented and scaled by:

  • sharing for free
  • setting up licensing agreements
  • collaborations
  • creating your own company, foundation or association

Funders' perspective on impact

What do funders actually mean when they ask for ‘impact’ in their grant applications?

Creating impact from research is usually a long-term process. Knowledge can be collected over time throughout a research project. Grant funders often ask for a description of the expected impact created from your research.


Grant funders might ask you the following questions:

  • What are the specific needs that triggered the project?
  • What are the expected results?
  • How will the results be disseminated and communicated?
  • What positive change do you expect to see within the target group(s) if knowledge and project results are disseminated and applied successfully?
  • What is the ultimate impact at a societal level?