What is impact?

The analysis of research impact illuminates the diverse ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations, and nations. Put simply, it is how academic research can help policy-makers, practitioners and citizens deliver tangible positive changes.

For this website, we focus on research conducted by King’s College London Geographers that has acquired public value by shaping policy, improving decision-making, resolving disputes, and/or changing public discourse.

The following 15 stories of research impact vary in terms of disciplines, regions, and objectives. The overarching objective remains the same throughout: to take research beyond academic publication to implementation for the common good.

The importance of impactful research

Ian Boyd Chief Scientific Advisor

Academic research and thought leadership are crucial to informed policy-making. Evidence from independent research is not only crucial in its own right, but is vital in holding policy-makers and practitioners to account, both for challenging and validating their work.

King’s College London’s Department of Geography is at the very cutting edge of such work. This booklet is an invaluable tool in setting out the varied ways academic research impacts real decisions and real lives.

Ian Boyd
Chief Scientific Advisor, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs


Gary-Kass Deputy Chief Scientist

As the Government’s statutory adviser on the natural environment, Natural England uses geographical thinking and evidence to target and deliver our interventions in the right places so that present and future generations can benefit from a healthy natural environment. Whether we are setting out the route of the England coastal path, defining management regimes for nature reserves, or targeting ways to enhance natural capital and landscapes, we need robust geographical information. Such information comes from earth observation, remote and mobile sensors, citizen science, advanced geospatial analysis, and other sources. We need to know how the environment is changing within the wider social and economic context and what interventions work, where, and under what conditions. Geography underpins most of what we do, and we look to high quality scientifically rigorous, interdisciplinary, and place-based research and analysis to provide the evidence we need.

Gary Kass
Deputy Chief Scientist, Natural England