November 13, 2023

Sustaining Impact: Exploring the Durability of Research Impact

Welcome back to our series on research impact. In our previous blog posts, we discussed the significance, reach, tangibility, and novelty of research impact. Today, we focus on another vital characteristic: “Durability.”

Sean Newell

5: Durability

Durability refers to the long-lasting and enduring effects of research over time. Join us as we delve into the importance of durability in research impact and how it ensures sustained benefits and transformative change. 

Definition and Explanation

Durability, as a characteristic of research impact, emphasizes the lasting effects and longevity of research outcomes or interventions. It involves considering the long-term implications, sustainability, and resilience of research impact beyond initial findings or interventions. Durability ensures that the benefits and changes resulting from research persist, adapt, and continue to influence practices and policies over an extended period. 

Examples that highlight the importance of durability in research impact: 

1. Environmental Durability: Research on sustainable land management practices can have enduring effects on ecosystems and natural resources. For instance, studies that promote soil conservation techniques or watershed management strategies help maintain ecological balance and mitigate the long-term effects of climate change. 

2. Policy Durability: Research that influences policy development can have a lasting impact on governance and societal well-being. For example, studies that inform the formulation of effective public health policies or legislative changes continue to shape practices and improve health outcomes for years to come. 

3. Educational Durability: Research on effective teaching methods or curriculum development can have a durable impact on education. For instance, studies that introduce innovative approaches to STEM education or interventions targeting educational inequalities contribute to long-term improvements in learning outcomes and student success.  

4. Cultural Durability: Research on cultural preservation and heritage conservation ensures the durability of cultural identities and traditions. Efforts to document endangered languages, protect archaeological sites, or preserve intangible cultural heritage help maintain cultural diversity and promote intergenerational transmission of knowledge.

Challenges and Considerations

Ensuring the durability of research impact presents challenges: 

  • Navigating the complexities of changing socio-political contexts, technological advancements, or economic conditions that may impact the sustainability of research outcomes. 
  • Engaging relevant stakeholders and building partnerships to support the implementation and long-term continuity of research initiatives.
  • Adapting research findings and interventions to evolving needs and emerging challenges to maintain relevance and effectiveness. 

Enhancing Durability

To enhance the durability of research impact, researchers and funders can consider the following strategies: 

  • Engage with end-users, policymakers, and stakeholders from the outset to ensure the relevance and sustainability of research outcomes. 
  • Establish mechanisms for ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and feedback loops to assess the durability and adaptability of research interventions.
  • Foster collaborations between researchers, practitioners, and community representatives to create shared ownership and long-term commitment to research impact. 


Durability is a critical characteristic that ensures sustained benefits and transformative change resulting from research impact. By considering the long-term implications and fostering resilience, research can have enduring effects on society, the environment, and various domains.

Join us in our next blog post, where we will continue exploring another characteristic of research impact: “Collaboration.” 

Other blog posts in this series

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