Research and Knowledge Exchange

Impact mentoring

The Impact Mentoring Scheme matches academics who would like advice and support on how to generate impact from their research with colleagues who have experience of engaging research users in policy, practice and industry.

Impact Mentoring focuses on building the mentee’s skills, confidence and networks to create impact from her/his research. The scheme is part of the ESRC Impact Accelerator Account. It is open to academics in both Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities. It is run by the CAHSS KE Office.


Applications are welcome throughout the year.

How do I apply?

To make the most of the relationship, and to help us identify the best match for you, please consider:

  • What do you need from an Impact Mentor?
  • What would a good outcome of the Impact Mentoring relationship be?

To apply, please contact Laura Cockram, KE and Communications Adviser (from November 2017 - March 2018 please contact Shonagh McEwan,, with brief answers to the questions above.

Contact details: or 0131 651 4211.

Become a mentee

Impact Mentoring is an opportunity for to gain support and advice from a colleague who is more experienced in knowledge exchange.

What will I work on with my mentor?

  • Developing strategies for generating impact
  • Identifying which organisations or sectors would be interested in your research
  • The mentor providing access to her/his network
  • Overcoming barriers such as making the first contact with research users
  • Discussing how best to involve the users in projects at an early stage
  • How to maintain independence and academic freedom when working in partnership
  • Managing knowledge exchange as part of the workload
  • How to capture impact from the engagement, etc.

How long does the mentoring last?

This is up to you and your mentor. The mentoring relationship may consist of two or three hour-long meetings a semester. If relevant, it may include the mentor introducing the mentee to her/his networks. Some partnerships last a short period of time, some for longer, say for up to a year. The schedule and location of meetings are things you should discuss at the initial meeting.

What support does the CAHSS Knowledge Exchange Office offer?

The CAHSS Knowledge Exchange office will match mentees with experienced academic colleagues. We will also try to find mentors from external organisations where appropriate. KE support staff will have an initial meeting with the mentee to help identify needs and what experiences that would be most relevant from the mentor. All mentees will also have a dedicated contact among the knowledge exchange staff either in the CAHSS KE office or in the School.


The scheme is open for salaried members of staff in CAHSS who have research included as part of their contractual duties.

I’m looking for career mentoring.

The Institute for Academic Development offers career mentoring. Find out more

Become a mentor

Impact Mentors share their experiences of the knowledge exchange process, perhaps based on a particular project, and share their networks and contacts where appropriate. Mentors help the mentee develop plans for engaging with research users and strategies for generating impact.  

What are we looking for in mentors?

Experience of a range of knowledge exchange activities, such as:

  • Involving research users on advisory committees for research projects
  • Collaborative research with non-academic users
  • Providing consultancy and contract research for government/industry/third sector
  • Secondments/placements (being seconded or hosting secondees)
  • Providing written evidence to government/parliament
  • Providing oral evidence to government/parliament
  • Influencing through providing informal advice and networking
  • Been appointed on advisory panels and working parties
  • Joint publications with non-academic users
  • Translation of research through briefing paper, good practice guides, etc.
  • Translation of research through creative means (theatre, film, visual)
  • Hosting knowledge exchange events.

Mentoring skills, such as:

  • Having the desire to help someone else
  • The ability to listen actively and a willingness to delay judgement
  • Being able to ask open questions and help the mentee reflect on their perspective
  • The ability to critique and challenge in a constructive way.

What will mentors get out of it?

Benefits to Impact Mentors include recognition as a knowledge exchange expert and the satisfaction of helping colleagues. Furthermore, the process will allow mentors the opportunity to reflect on their own practice and the possibility of gaining new ideas and networks from another School. Through sharing their advice and experience, mentors will help knowledge exchange happen that may not otherwise have been possible. Ultimately, this will help increase the impact of research on society, benefitting us all.

I’m interested. How do I become a mentor?

Please contact Laura Cockram, KE and Communications Adviser, on or 0131 651 4211. (from November 2017 - March 2018 please contact Shonagh McEwan, as Laura is on a secondment.


For mentees: Useful guidance and tips on how to get the best out of mentoring.

For mentors: Advice on how to be a good mentor and on managing the mentoring relationship.