October 24, 2023

Reaching Far and Wide: Exploring the Reach of Research Impact

Welcome back to our series on research impact! In our previous blog post, we discussed the significance of research impact. Today, we delve into another crucial characteristic: “Reach.”

Sean Newell

2: Reach

The reach of research impact refers to the extent and breadth of the audience, communities, or sectors that benefit from research outcomes. Join us as we explore the importance of reach in maximizing the influence and effectiveness of research impact. 

Definition and Explanation

Reach, as a characteristic of research impact, measures the dissemination and accessibility of research findings beyond academic circles. It reflects the degree to which research reaches and engages various stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, industry professionals, the public, and communities impacted by the research. A broader reach ensures that research has the potential to catalyze change, influence decisions, and contribute to the well-being of society.

Examples of real-world examples that demonstrate the reach of research impact:

1. Policy Reach: Research on the health effects of smoking can have a significant policy reach. When findings are effectively communicated and influence policymakers, they can contribute to the implementation of public health policies, such as increased taxes on tobacco products, smoke-free laws, and educational campaigns to reduce smoking rates

2. Industry Reach: Technological research advancements can have a wide-reaching impact on industries. For instance, the development of efficient and cost-effective solar panels can transform the renewable energy industry, making solar power more accessible and affordable for a broader range of consumers.

3. Public Reach: Research that addresses pressing social issues, such as poverty or gender inequality, can have a profound reach among the general public. When research findings are disseminated through media channels, public talks, or online platforms, they can raise awareness, change attitudes, and inspire collective action. 

4. Community Reach: Community-based research projects prioritize reaching the communities they aim to serve. By engaging community members in the research process and tailoring interventions to their specific needs, these projects can have a direct impact on local communities, fostering empowerment, and driving positive change from within. 

Challenges and Considerations

Reaching a wide audience and diverse stakeholders can present challenges:

  • Language barriers, complex jargon, or technical terms may hinder effective communication and limit reach. 
  • Limited access to research findings due to paywalls or lack of open access initiatives can restrict the reach of research to those who need it most. 
  • Engaging marginalized or underrepresented communities requires thoughtful approaches to ensure inclusivity and equitable reach. 

Enhancing Reach

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

  • Prioritize open access publishing to ensure research findings are freely accessible to all. 
  • Utilize clear and concise language, along with visual aids, to effectively communicate research to diverse audiences.
  • Engage with knowledge brokers, media outlets, and communication professionals to amplify research impact and reach broader audiences.


The reach of research impact is a vital characteristic that determines the extent of influence and engagement with diverse stakeholders. By expanding the reach of research, we can maximize its potential to inform policies, drive innovation, and improve the lives of individuals and communities.   

Join us in the next blog post, where we will explore yet another characteristic of research impact: “Tangibility.” 

Other blog posts in this series

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