How we help you…

Plan for and track research impact

Led by Dr Sarah Morton, Co-Director of Matter of Focus and international leader in the fields of knowledge exchange and research impact, we offer consultancy and software to help you plan for and track the impact of research, knowledge mobilisation and evidence to action initiatives.




Are you a researcher, research leader or impact officer who would like to track the impact of research and knowledge mobilisation on wider society?

You might need to report to a funder, make the case for continuing support, or show stakeholders why your work matters. You might have been tasked with improving impact support for a department or institution, or be focused on ensuring you have good UK REF impact case studies.

We offer a practical and meaningful approach to that will help you to:

  • Show stakeholders why your work matters and how it makes a difference
  • Make the case for continuing support
  • Report to funders quickly and easily
  • Produce robust REF impact case studies

Developed and led by research impact expert Dr Sarah Morton

Sarah is the Co-founder and Director of Matter of Focus and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She is internationally recognised for her work in developing innovative approaches to ensure that decision-makers have access to the best evidence for taking organisations, policies and practices forward.

Sarah pioneered a participatory approach to using contribution analysis to understand and achieve impact, which she has used in seven independent impact studies, in advising several research programmes, and in supporting academics to write impact case studies. Read more about the approach.

The services we offer

Research impact literacy training

Training online or face to face for researchers and research support staff in understanding and embedding an impact mindset into their work.

Training the trainers

We can support you to design and deliver training the trainers so that you have the capacity and capability to train your own staff in impact.

Support to track impact

We can support research centres and initiatives, or cohorts of researchers to understand and track the impact of their work through a series of workshops and our software OutNav. This means that they build up evidence of their impact over time, so that they can showcase their impact for funders, stakeholders or REF purposes.

Support on impact strategy and planning

Many organisations are on a journey to becoming more impact-focused. The key to success is having a clear impact strategy and plan so that everyone knows what is expected of them and what support is available. We can help review existing plans and improve them, or develop plans if you don’t have them in place. This is through consultation and discussion, drawing on our experience and expertise.

Software to help you plan for and track impact

We offer our unique, cloud-based software, OutNav, alongside our consultancy support. OutNav:

  • holds a logical and methodologically sound framework for thinking about and planning for impact through a pathways to impact approach, using contribution analysis.
  • creates a neat visual of the pathway to impact, which can be adjusted as work unfolds and is great for sharing with stakeholders.
  • provides one place to pull together different kinds of evidence and feedback about impact: surveys, interviews, photos, policy anaysis, testimonials, emails etc. and might include data from Research Fish, Pure or other repositories.
  • allows you to create an impact narrative that forms the foundation for robust claims about the contribution of research and knowledge mobilisation to society and the economy.
  • creates open, shareable reports that can be provided as evidence of impact for the REF, funders or stakeholders.
  • offers a secure space for teams to collaborate to understand and track their impact.

Recent work with clients


We have been working with embedded researchers in government departments to understand the impact of embedding research into departments. This has explored how supporting departments to define and publish their research needs has helped support evidence-based policy-making.

Robert Gordon University

We have supported Robert Gordon University to develop a Research Impact Strategy, train research and support staff,  and start to embed more impact culture into their work.

“(the training) was very interactive and applied to projects… It has helped me to understand how to develop an impact strategy and how to expand the impact of my research”

ARC North West Coast

ARC North West Coast is a research collaborative to improve outcomes for patients and the public through collaboration, working by bringing together academics, health and social care providers, members of the public, universities and local authorities. We are supporting them to articulate and track the impact of this work.

Explore our research impact insights and resources…

Unlocking research impact: 3 keys to meaningful assessment

  • Live on 12 March, 2024.
  • 12.30 –1.30pm (GMT)

In this webinar, Sarah will share ideas, tools and techniques to help you get going with tracking the impact of your research and knowledge to action initiatives.

Text reads: Understanding and assessing research impact with Matter of Focus

In this article, Sarah Morton summarises her approach to understanding and assessing research impact.
Read more >

Image of title of the post

This case study looks at using OutNav to track the impact of a collaborative international research project between the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the EU Kids Online network.
Read more >

This case study explores how we helped Health Technology Wales to embed an outcome-focused approach to assessing the impact of their research and guidance.
Read more >

Ways to get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about working with us we’d be happy to arrange chat with Sarah or you can come along to one of our scheduled demo sessions, in which one of our evaluation and impact consultants introduces our approach and OutNav and can answer any initial questions you may have.

To hear from us when we have an upcoming webinar or content that we think you’ll find interesting or helpful, please sign up to our mailing list.

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Our approach feature

Our approach

Our approach helps organisations to meaningfully and robustly evidence and tell the story of the difference they make.

Find out more