Published — 2023

The Landscape of UK Development Research Impact: An analysis of REF2021 impact case studies

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The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) conducted an analysis of 891 international development research case studies to identify patterns in the types of non-academic impact that were achieved by studies. This was complemented by 10 case study “deep dives” to better understand the impact of international development research by the UK Higher Education Institutions. These case studies were obtained from the Research Excellence Framework case study database from 2021 (REF2021).

In each of these 10 case studies, UKCDR identified general patterns across many disciplines and gained an understanding of the connection between how research is conducted and its associated impacts. This report extrapolates a new framework for impactful development research and the mechanisms that help achieve it. Within this framework are 6 components for impactful development research:

  • understanding of impact
  • funding approaches
  • co-production with research users
  • long-term equitable partnerships
  • embedded capacity strengthening
  • operational processes

Padilla A., Chadwick El-Ali A., Heintz, M. (2023). The landscape of UK development research impact: An analysis of REF2021 impact case studies. Link: