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Why are we having this conversation Might be helpful to know a bit about the external context on ‘impact.’ Need to know how to better support the activities.

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Presentation on theme: "Why are we having this conversation Might be helpful to know a bit about the external context on ‘impact.’ Need to know how to better support the activities."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Why are we having this conversation Might be helpful to know a bit about the external context on ‘impact.’ Need to know how to better support the activities people are already involved in/how to facilitate our work on impact (as we define it).

3 External Context on Impact R and D approach REF Funders: AHRC; ESRC; ERC. Responses being forged by other universities

4 R and D Approach Emphasis on start ups, spin offs, industry collaborations, commercialisation of IP and knowledge transfer. Kent Enterprise and Innovation Unit

5 REF Impact sub-profile (20%), evidenced via research case studies and a departmental impact profile Impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia. Includes, but is not limited to, an effect on, change or benefit to: the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. (Assessment Framework, p 26). uidanceonsubmissions/02_11.pdf

6 Panel C guidance Reach will be understood in terms of the extent and diversity of the communities, environments, individuals, organisations or any other beneficiaries that have benefited or been affected. Significance will be understood in terms of the degree to which the impact has enriched, influenced, informed or changed policies, opportunities, perspectives or practices of communities, individuals or organisations. (Panel C guidance, in Panel Criteria and Working Methods, para 102).

7 For Panel C impact includes: holding public or private bodies to account or subjecting proposed changes in society, public policy, business practices, and so on to public scrutiny. contribution to critical public debate around policy, social or business issues. research findings may generate critique or dissent, which itself leads to impact(s). “For example, research may find that a government approach to a particular social or economic issue is not delivering its objectives, which leads to the approach being questioned or modified”(Panel C Guidance, para 80)

8 RCUK Economic and societal impacts The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy. Economic and societal impacts embrace all the extremely diverse ways in which research- related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations by: fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom, increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy, enhancing quality of life, health and creative output. (What do research councils mean by impact? Available at px).

9 AHRC Plan AHRC will take more focused approach to stimulating and increasing impact, focused on the Creative Economy (creative industries and public infrastructure of museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras, theatres). Target of 30 sustainable partnerships with private sector enterprises over the spending period. Will prioritise heritage research; cohesive communities; working alongside govt. depts. to assist in developing public services; helping UK innovation in design, new media, and digital technology; E.g. of their impact include research on religion and youth, design for social purposes (e.g. against crime); trust in public life; role of beliefs and cultural and creative activities in community life; potential of creative economy to stimulate economic prosperity; cultural tourism; contribution to “Big Society” agenda.

10 ERC: The Frontier Bites Back? March 2012: at its annual meeting it re-iterated its commitment to funding ‘frontier’ ‘blue-skies’ research. In tough economic times, “one answer is to target resources...to look to strategic sectors, to put science to work on the most pressing problems. It all looks so easy, so obvious. But frontier science does not work like this. We cannot programme scientific breakthroughs or order them from a menu...We can't foresee the consequences of what we discover.“ (Prof Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council, THE 8 March 2012).

11 BUT has “proof of concept ” funding to help researchers with existing ERC grants apply their ideas, “to bridge the final gap between research and the earliest stages of innovation.” Ex. from Kings of a 139,000 Euro grant to develop “impact tracer”, a web application that can be used to trace the impact of specific texts on public debate (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/europeanstudi es/newsrecords/ /ercfunding.aspx

12 Responses in Universities: Petitions and Annoyed Comments from Anon. ‘Thousands of academics call for impact to be axed’ THE 13 December Available at: co.uk/story.asp?storycode= The problem with this new drive for "impact" is that the only tangible result will be a mountain of drivel in the form of "impact statements" dreamed up to justify the work we are already doing. They are almost always complete fabrications, made up to satisfy some bureaucrat or to tick some box. The really absurd part is that most grant reviewers are other academics, who also must draft these fantastical statements for their own research and realise what a load b*ll**ks it all is. These impact assessment exercises …. are an appalling waste of time and energy.” (Anon, in on-line comments to 2009 THE article).

13 Other Responses: Hiring, University Self-Publicising, and Guidance on Staff Self-Publicising. Hiring impact coordinators for the REF Swansea Law School’s research impact statement: emphasizes IP, contribution to economy, plus a little on NGO consulting (http://www.swansea.ac.uk/law/research/researchimpact/)http://www.swansea.ac.uk/law/research/researchimpact/ UCL: emphasizes broader policy impact, and public engagement (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/experts/index.shtml?policy_i mpact; mpacthttp://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/pe/

14 Russell Group Report on benefits to businesses: “The total estimated annual turnover from companies ‘spun out’ from Russell Group universities was £724 million, 70% of the total for the whole of the HE sector.” Other publicised examples of impact include a better policing initiative, wherein an officer from the LAPD visited to learn about community policing with Muslim community groups in Leeds and take lessons back to US.

15 “MAXIMIZING THE IMPACTS OF YOUR RESEARCH: A HANDBOOK FOR SOCIAL SCIENTISTS” LSE Public Policy Group Consultation Draft. April pages of systematic advice on how to maximize the academic impacts of your research in terms of citations and other measures of influence, and how to achieve greater visibility and impacts with audiences outside the university External impact measured by references to an academic’s work made by sources outside the university sector.

16 We are doomed, but anthropology is doomed worse

17 What is missing? Critical epistemological reflections; critical pedagogical practices Support for practices that try to break down conventional divisions between knower and known in research Two way impact Fostering collaborative impact environments Our ‘impact’ context?

18 Further Reading/Listening rycode= (on ERC rejection of ‘impact’). rycode= s/LSEPublicPolicy/Docs/LSE_Impact_Handbook_Apri l_2011.pdf s/LSEPublicPolicy/Docs/LSE_Impact_Handbook_Apri l_2011.pdf / / (song about her physicist Dad trying to find research work outside the US military-industrial complex).


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