UCL School of Pharmacy


Postgraduate Student View: The IHE Impact Fellowship

20 October 2021

Neel Desai is a PhD Candidate of the EPSRC CDT in Advanced Therapeutics & Nanomedicines based at UCL School of Pharmacy. On completing the IHE Impact Fellowship, he documents his ‘Impact’ journey!

Prior to starting the IHE Impact Fellowship, my understanding of the term ‘Impact’ was about as simple as Google would define it: a marked effect or influence. Within a research environment, that translates to the impact said research would have on a wider audience – a unidirectional exchange of information. Being an IHE Impact Fellow has shown me that ‘Impact’ is far more multifaceted – beyond traditional science communications activities. It’s about enabling knowledge-exchange not just between researchers, but also with members of the public, policy makers, media partners and beyond.

Purple drug vials

By breaking ‘Impact’ down into Public engagement, Policy engagement, Industry engagement, Patient involvement and Science communications, the Fellowship has enabled me to take a crash course in each strand over its yearlong running. The training hasn’t just been theoretical. Being an Impact Fellow has allowed me to explore these opportunities and gain hands-on experience of sharing my research activities and impact through various mediums.

From developing blog posts, taking part in a Science Showcase and recording podcasts to name but a few, the Fellowship has allowed me to venture beyond my comfort zone and participate in things I’ve always wanted to do, but never thought I could. All this whilst being surrounded by other Fellows in the same position helped make the process far easier and more fun than it would’ve otherwise been.

The IHE Impact Fellowship has provided an enjoyable and beneficial learning experience, one that I didn’t know I needed before starting! Through learning the art of simplifying my research without reducing its impact – this is far more difficult than it sounds – I have been able make knowledge exchange activities more engaging and inclusive to wider audiences.

From knowing the absolute minimum to now having a fairly good idea of what ‘Impact’ means, I now know that I want to maximise my own opportunities to create long-lasting research impact. This would have only been possible through the opportunities provided through this Fellowship that I maximised during the first year of its running. An impactful Fellowship that shouldn’t be missed!

Further information:


  • EPSRC & SFI CDT in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies - Sarah Marks, UCL Centre Manager - s.marks.pharm@ucl.ac.uk
  • IHE Impact Fellowship – Georgina Cade, IHE Communications & Impact Manager - g.cade@ucl.ac.uk