UCD Impact Planning Canvas

What is the Canvas and how do I use it?

The UCD Impact Planning Canvas is a tool which makes life easier by breaking impact down into its component parts. It can help with many aspects of impact planning, from identifying collaborators to writing impact sections in funding proposals.


It’s preferable to think about impact at the beginning of a research project – this gives you the best chance of getting your research into the right hands to make a difference. However, the Canvas can be completed at any stage of the research journey. It’s never too late to think about impact. The Canvas can also be used to reflect on completed projects, helping you identify impacts that may have already occurred.

The best way to fill it in is to use post-it notes, either physically or using an online whiteboard system, like Miro or Google Jamboard. This allows you to think flexibly, and makes it easier to adapt your responses as you work through the different sections.

Completing the canvas shouldn’t take long – just 15 to 30 minutes.

Watch our video to learn how to fill in the Canvas :


Where can I find it?

Click here to download the Canvas as a PDF.

Are there examples I can look at?

Click on any of the links below to see examples of the Canvas filled in by researchers at UCD:

I’ve filled in the Canvas – now what?

If you want to write an impact section, read our detailed guidance on how to do so. If you’re writing a case study, we have guidance for that too.

Are there any other tools I can use as well?

Professor Mark Reed at Fast Track Impact has a freely available Impact Planning Template which you may wish to use in conjunction with the Canvas. He also offers a Stakeholder Analysis Template, which can help you prioritise which beneficiaries to work with.

Campus Engage, based within the Irish Universities Association, carried out an international literature review, and a national consultation with over 300 stakeholders, to build an Engaged Research Impact Framework for Ireland (2017). This, and associated tools and training opportunities, can be access here.