What is impact?

That’s a question many people will ask themselves as they prepare their Erasmus+ application or start their project.

In simple terms, it’s the change you expect to come about as a result of your project.  You’ll expect some impact on your participants – both learners and project staff – and your organisation. You may even see some impact on your sector or government policy (often called systemic impact as it effects the education and training system in some way).  For example:

  • How will staff mobility placements improve their skills and qualifications?  Will this increase the quality of teaching and research at your institution?
  • Will your project result in changes to the structure or content of your training courses?  Will these changes be implemented across your organisation or sector?

Understanding what impact is, is just the start – the next challenge is to identify what specific impacts you expect to see, why they’re important and to whom, how you’re going to measure them and how you’ll collect your evidence.  This process of identifying, measuring and collecting is what we mean by impact assessment.

Support and advice on how to assess the impact of your project is available for applicants and project-holders.  You can participate in our Measuring Impact Learning Network.  You can also explore our Impact webpage to learn about the UK National Agency’s impact assessment activities and download useful resources.

We want projects to maximise their impact and we are looking for ways to expand the support we provide.  It was this desire that led to the UK National Agency joining seven other Erasmus+ NAs in Ljubljana, Slovenia in January to exchange practice and experiences between NAs and to explore ways that we could work together in the future.  We’ve got some exciting plans for joint activities emerging for the rest of 2016 and beyond to help support you as funding beneficiaries and improve the level of impact evidence across Erasmus+.

But don’t wait until then.  Whether you’re thinking of submitting an application or already have a successful project, you need to start thinking and planning your own impact assessment now.