Research Impact

Southern Cross University conducts research in areas for which we are known for having excellence, which is readily scalable from a regional model to have impact at both the national and international level.

Research impact is a different perspective to the traditional academic view of impact meaning publications and citations.

NB. In relation to academic impact, the Library can help researchers with choosing the best publisher to achieve impact through citations, open access and monitoring – see the Library research publishing information.

To view a range of impact from Southern Cross University research, see our Impact Case Studies.

Southern Cross University researchers are committed to tackling the big picture problems, from the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, to engineering sustainable materials for the future. Read, watch and be inspired by their stories of impact.

It is increasingly important for universities to show how they are translating research into impact. 

In 2015, as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Australian Government identified introducing a national assessment of the engagement and impact of Australian university research.

The first assessment occurred in 2018 via the Engagement and Impact Assessment (EI2018).

SCU EI2018 results are below:

Many and various definitions used, but ARC definition (used in the 2018 E&I process) was:

“Research impact is the contribution that research makes to the economy, society, environment and culture, beyond the contribution to academic research”

Key elements of IMPACT are that:

  1. the impact occurs outside of academia
  2. the impact might arise directly or indirectly from the research
  3. the impact could be economical , health, cultural, environmental, legal, technological, political, societal, policy

Impact and Indicators across different impact areas

Extract from

Types of impact - Mark Reed (Research Impact Typology)

Type of ImpactDefinition
Understanding and awareness People understand an issue better than they did before, based on your research
Attitudinal A change in attitudes, typically of a group of people who share similar views, towards a new attitude that brings them or others benefits
Economic Monetary benefits arising from research, either in terms of money saved, costs avoided or increases in turnover, profit, funding or benefits to groups of people or the environment measured in monetary terms
Environmental Benefits from research to genetic diversity, species or habitat conservation, and ecosystems, including the benefits that humans derive from a healthy environment
Health and well-being Research that leads to better outcomes for the health of individuals, social groups or public health, including saving lives and improving people’s quality of life, and wider benefits for the well-being of individuals or social groups, including both physical and social aspects such as emotional, psychological and economic well-being, and measures of life satisfaction
Policy The contribution that research makes to new or amended laws, regulations or other policy mechanisms that enable them to meet a defined need or objective that delivers public benefit. Crucial to this definition is the fact that you are assessing the extent to which your research made a contribution, recognising that it is likely to be one of many factors influencing policy. It also goes beyond simply influencing policy, to enabling those policies to deliver public benefits. If the policy intervention would have had the same impact without the elements based on your research, can you really claim to have had impact? Arguing for the significance of your contribution is therefore an essential part of demonstrating that your research achieved policy impacts.
Other forms of
decision-making and behaviour change impacts
Whether directly or indirectly (via changes in understanding/awareness and attitudes), research can inform a wide range of individual, group and organisational behaviours and decisions leading to impacts that go beyond the economy, environment, health and well-being or policy.
Cultural Changes in the prevailing values, attitudes, beliefs, discourse and patterns of behaviour, whether explicit (e.g. codified in rules or law) or implicit (e.g. rules of thumb or accepted practices) in organisations, social groups or society that deliver benefits to the members of those groups or those they interact with
Other social Benefits to specific social groups or society not covered by other types of impact, including, for example, access to education or improvements in human rights

Capacity or Preparedness

Research that leads to new or enhanced capacity (physical, financial, natural, human resources or social capital and connectivity) that is likely to lead to future benefits, or that makes individuals, groups or
organisations more prepared and better able to cope with changes that might otherwise impact negatively on them

Taken From The Research Impact Handbook – Mark Reed

Questions and Help

If you have any questions or require help please contact Professor Mary Spongberg.

Other Research Contacts