Impact Glossary

Different Categories of Project Results

Results are defined in Horizon 2020 as ‘Any tangible or intangible output of the action, such as data, knowledge and information whatever their form or nature, whether or not they can be protected, which are generated in the action as well as any attached rights, including intellectual property rights.

Erasmus+ Guidelines 2017 define ‘Results are achievements of the European activity or project that received EU funding. The type of result will vary depending on the type of project. Results can be classified as either (a) outputs or (b) outcomes:

a) Output: a tangible product which is produced by a given project and which may be quantified; outputs can be accessible products like curricula, studies, reports, materials, events, or websites;

b) Outcome: an intangible added value achieved through the achievement of the project objectives and targets.

Outputs are what is directly produced or supplied through the EU or donor intervention. They often relate to the expected deliverables of the project. Outputs generally occur within the short to medium term. Outputs directly result from activities of the operation. They are typically measured in units such as: number of seminars/training sessions, number of new patents, number and type of policy tools/country reports/concepts, and many others.

Impact is the effect of an activity and of its results, including the changes brought about for individuals, organisations, systems, practices, at all levels of society. Impact broadly defines the wider societal, economic or environmental cumulative changes over a longer period of time.


An indicator can be defined as the measurement of an objective to be met, a resource mobilised, an effect obtained or a context variable. An indicator should be made up by a definition, a value and a measurement unit.

Result indicators relate to the direct and immediate effect on direct beneficiaries brought about by a programme. They provide information on changes to, for example, the behaviour, capacity or performance of beneficiaries. Such indicators can be of a physical (reduction in journey times, number of successful trainees, number of roads accidents, etc.) or financial (leverage of private sector resources, decrease in transportation cost, etc.) nature.

Impact indicators represent what the successful outcome should be in terms of impact on the economy/society beyond those directly affected by the intervention. Impact indicators refer to the consequences of the programme beyond the immediate effects. Two concepts of impact can be defined:

– Specific impacts are those effects occurring after a certain lapse of time but which are, nonetheless, directly linked to the action taken and the direct beneficiaries.
– Global impacts are longerterm effects affecting a wider population.

Source: The New Programming Period, 2007-2013: Methodological Working Papers – Draft Working Paper ‘Indicators for monitoring and evaluation: a practical guide’, 23 January 2006
Source: Horizon 2020 indicators. Assessing the results and impact of Horizon. European Commission, 2015
Source: Erasmus+ Programme, own

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