In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF), the new element of research impact was understood in very linear and direct terms. Aoileann Ní Mhurchú, Laura McLeod, Stephanie Collins and Gabriel Siles-Brügge consider how accepted definitions of impact may have had the effect of silencing certain types of research. Research and impact should be seen as a two-way street, where academics engage with their research subjects as part of a process of co-production. Moreover, impact must be thought of as a collective endeavour that captures the broader social and cultural benefits of academic work. The Stern Review recommendations are to be welcomed but whether and how they are adopted remains to be seen.