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Impact and partnerships

The impact of your research is the effect it has on the world we live in. Whatever it is developing new products, practices, or ways of thinking, your research has the potential to address some of the challenges faced by society, the most pressing ones being identified as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Developing real impact requires planning, time and engaging with partners, often from other sectors like businesses, charities, government bodies etc. This can give you highly transferable understanding, experience and skills that are very helpful to your career development.

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Planning and recording impact

Impact needs to be planned at the outset of any research project, to ensure that you are addressing the right question, engaging with the appropriate people, and will be able to measure your progress.

The Impact and engagement team in the Research Strategy and Engagement team is here to help you with all of it. They organise a range of events and workshops on embedding engagement in your research, preparing impact case studies for REF, influencing policy with your research etc. These are advertised in the round-up and PDC communications. They also provide one-to-one impact clinics to discuss your impact activities and plans.

Relevant training and resources:

Partnerships with businesses and external stakeholders

Translating research often involves partnering with people and organisations who have the means to do it. It can give you insight into a different sector, new connections and open funding streams.

The Business Alliance team provides support for academics and researchers at Queen's who want to establish partnerships with industry, public bodies and the third sector. They notably organise events to meet potential partners in your feld of research and provide one-to-one support with funding applications and partnership establishment.

Relevant training and resources:

  • Understanding Industry Academia Collaborations (new workshop to be established)
  • Innovation and collaboration videos: include "An insight into Industry academia partnerships" and "An insight into research contracts"
  • AIM (Academic Industry Meeting) Days: networking events on specific topics to enable academic-industry interactions (advertised via the round-up and PDC communications)
  • Agility fund (can support engagement activities, including to build partnerships, aligned with the university Research and Innovation strategy)
  • Research Engaged Seed Fund (can support projects with clear potential to provide opportunities for research engagement with external stakeholders or to further consolidate research relationships)
  • "Networking and profile building for researchers" workshop
  • "Networking for researchers" online course on Nature Masterclasses
Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs)

Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) are big sums of money allocated to universities to allow them to flexibly support impact activities aligned with their research strategy and situation. Queen's holds several IAAs aligned with a range of disciplines. Each IAA offers training and funding opportunities that can be useful to postdocs. For example, they may fund activities to develop new partnerships with external organisations, secondments/fellowships in other sectors, commercialisation projects, dissemination projects etc.

Visit the IAAs website for more information

Impact Academy
Targeted training opportunities

The Impact Academy is a set of training opportunities in the areas of impact and partnerships and is provided in line with Queen's Impact Acceleration Accounts.

Sessions are organised on a range of themes and provision evolves over time, to cover topics such as social enterprise, identifying partners, podcast and media training, social media and blogging, engagement evaluation, working with the NI assembly, generating infographics etc.

Visit the Impact Academy page


Commercialisation and entrepreneurship

Commercialising your research, through licencing or the creation of a spin-out company is a way to get it to the public, benefit the economy and maybe turn you into a CEO!

The commercialisation team helps researchers investigate the commercial potential of their research, how to protect their IP (Intellectual Property) and bring it to market. They organise events, training and programmes around IP and entrepreneurship as well as one-to-ones. They run a range of innovation programmes based on the Lean Launch method, aligned with different research topics. These include training, industry mentoring and funding to build a business case for a spin-out company and are often led by a postodoc, who becomes CEO if a company is created.

Relevant training and resources:

  • Innovation videos: include "An insight into Intellectual Property", "An insight into Patents" (2 parts), "An insight into commercial thinking"
  • Innovation Bites webinar series (advertised in the round-up and PDC communications)
  • Innovation programmes: multiple programmes across a range of disciplines are organised each year and include training, mentoring and often funding
  • Inventors guide
  • Innovation newsletter (sign-up for the newsletter)
  • ACCELERATE Potential: online, self-paced, open-access short course covering an introduction to translational research, how to get started, and where to find support 
  • Innovation after hours seminars: these events feature entrepreneurs from a range of disciplines talking about their experience. They are organised regularly by the Graduate School and are open to all (advertised on the Graduate School schedule, the round-up and PDC communications)


Entrepreneurship beyond Queen's

The entrepreneurship programmes and support provided at Queen's only apply to the commercialisation of Queen's research.

If you have an idea of business that does not result from your research, there are other external sources of training and support to help you set-up your enterprise.

Catalyst: Catalyst is an not-for-profit organisation aiming at promoting entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. Their Co-Funders programme is targetted at individuals or established teams interested in developing new product/service innovation focused on science, technology and engineering.

Belfast city council: the city offers support for people willing to establish their business and social enterprises, including via the Belfast Enterprise Academy