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Impact can occur at any stage of the research cycle and often as a result of both effective knowledge exchange and engagement activities with non-academic audiences and external partners and serendipity. It is worth thinking about potential impacts of your research from the outset by exploring who could potentially benefit from your work and look at how you can increase the chances of potential beneficiaries benefiting from your work.
Dissemination activities (e.g. presenting at national and international conferences, publishing in academic journals and delivering research group seminars) are often not enough to create tangible impacts outside academia
It is important, although it might not always be straightforward, to distinguish between the routes to research impact (often known as knowledge exchange, engagement, or impact activities) and the impact itself. Routes should explain how (through what means) the research led to or contributed to changes in awareness, behaviour, perceptions, etc.