Aims of today Define impact in the context of what it means to funders, stakeholders and researchers Explore who the beneficiaries of research might be, how they might benefit and strategies for ensuring they benefit Develop a deeper understanding of how researchers have made an impact with their research Help you unpack some of the issues to consider in relation to measuring and predicting potential research impact
Outline of the day The impact agenda – UK policy Academic case study Review and critique live UK and ARC grants Lunch Academic case study Pathway to impact planning and presentations Lots of opportunity for questions and discussion!
Thanks to our speakers and organisers Krystyna Haq – Graduate Education Officer, Graduate Research and Education Team, UWA UWA’s Institute of Advanced Studies Winthrop Professor Alan Dench, Dean of the Graduate School, UWA Winthrop Professor Susan Broomhall, History and ARC Centre for Excellence in the History of Emotions
The University of York
About us In less than 50 years, York has become one of the top ten universities in the UK for teaching and research – and is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. There are now over 30 academic departments and research centres and the student body has expanded to 13,000.
Research at York Virtually all our research is "internationally recognised" and over 50% is "world-leading" or "internationally excellent" (RAE 2008) York is consistently a top 10 UK research university and attracted over £200 million of funding last year The University works with public, private and third sector organisations across its research activities Our research income exceeds our teaching income
Researcher Development in the UK
Framework of the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers Enables self-assessment of strengths and areas for further development Common framework across institutions in the UK Universal language for communicating researcher capabilities
Why are you doing your research? What motivates you? Does impact matter?
Research with Impact
The UK impact agenda The impact agenda has ignited much debate in the academic community in the UK and elsewhere due to the required inclusion of a ‘pathways to impact’ statement in research council grant funding applications Return on public investment
The impact agenda: assessment In addition to this, HEFCE have introduced a 20% weighting on impact in the Research Excellence Framework exercise calling for evidence that the research that has been funded has made an impact
Future and potential impacts AHRC and ESRC ask for explicit answers to: – Who will benefit from this research? – How will they benefit from this research? – What will be done to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from this research
Australian Research Council and NHMRC The ARC asks applicants to outline the potential innovative economic, environmental, social and/ or cultural benefit of proposed research and whether there are adequate strategies to encourage dissemination, commercialisation, if appropriate; and promotion of research outcomes. NHMRC requires information about applicants’ involvement in community engagement activities and the translation of research into policy and practice. Focus on national research priorities Outcomes, innovation and impact ( subtle differences)
The aspiration “Our most direct and urgent message must be to the [researchers] themselves: learn to communicate with the public, be willing to do so and consider it your duty to do so” Royal Society Statement The Public Understanding of Science (or Bodmer Report)1985 “The duty of intellectuals in society is to make a difference” Sir Thomas More...(Shortly before his execution in 1535) 3
Who is interested in research?
Mapping engagement Policy community Public sector Community and 3 rd sector International community Business community RESEARCH The public Community organisations and societies Voluntary organisations and charities Non Governmental Organisations Social enterprises Cultural and leisure services Local / regional / national govt Schools, colleges and lifelong learning Quangos and govt agencies Local authorities / strategic bodies Health and well being agencies Businesses and industry The media Communities of place Communities of interest
Knowledge exchange “The UK Research Councils seek to accelerate the two-way flow of people and ideas between the research environment and wider economy, and thereby contribute to national prosperity, the quality of life of UK citizens, and cultural enrichment of our society. Knowledge Transfer encompasses the systems and processes by which knowledge, expertise and skilled people transfer between the research environment (universities, centres and institutes) and its user communities in industry, commerce, public and service sectors.” Research Councils UK
What’s the process? E Enterprise You do novel research, you have an idea about ways in which the research could be useful to the outside world KT Knowledge transfer/ exchange That idea is translated to beneficiaries through a range of activities with external collaborators I Impact There is an influence or effect on society/ economy enabled through effective knowledge exchange
But what constitutes impact?
Economic, societal and cultural impact “The research councils define impact as the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy” Impact is increasingly being defined as the influence or effect of research outside the university on the economy, society, and culture Taking research to non-academic users
Broadly defined for a reason? Impact embraces 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, and – enhancing quality of life, health and creative output
Impact of social science research can be further categorised as: Instrumental – influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour Conceptual – contributing to the understanding of policy issues, reframing debates Capacity building – through technical and personal skill development
How might benefits be translated to end users?
Commercialisation In the UK, researchers are encouraged to think about the commercial potential of their work through activities such as: CPD activities Business creation (spin out/ license) Knowledge transfer partnerships/ collaboration with industry Consultancy
Research into policy and practice Politicians want research to back up their ideas Academics want politicians to consider their research
Public engagement “ Our most direct and urgent message must be to the [researchers] themselves: learn to communicate with the public, be willing to do so and consider it your duty to do so” Royal Society Statement
How does this affect grant writing? 1. Academic beneficiaries 2. Impact summary (4000 characters) 3. Pathway to impact (up to two sides of A4)
What is the difference between the summaries and the pathway to impact? The summaries may well appear in the public domain (e.g. grants on the web) – non-technical language – focus on beneficiaries and how they will be impacted The pathway expands on the information in the summaries – what you are actually going to do – networking events, workshops, publications, public engagement, training…
Write an Impact Summary Summarise your research for a lay audience in no more than half a page ( we will use these later) Tips: Lose the jargon Sell the benefits of your research not the features Think about your audience, how can you make your research accessible?
Impact is also understood in the UK in different contexts 1.Maximising impact of current research 2.Reporting on impact of previous research 3.Academic impact
1. Maximising current research Dissemination – Publications (open access), conferences, media, web, public engagement Widening collaborations – Knowledge transfer/exchange (inc funded) – Partnering across disciplines/non-academic organisations Tracking of impacts – START recording!
2. Past impacts: external assessment Research Excellence Framework (REF) – 20% assessment = ‘Impact’ – Structured narrative (case studies), backed by indicators – Examples must be underpinned by excellent research undertaken at submitting institution – Assessed at level of Unit of Assessment – Pilot was carried out in 2008
This is different to academic impact! “The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, methods, theory and application” Research Councils UK
IMPACT: AIMS NOT to change the type of research To encourage you to think about the possible impact of your research at the time of planning it `Impact` does not equal `applied` `Impact` does not equal `industry` Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council UK
Impact can happen at different times... 0 – 5 Years Years Years Years
What is a pathway to impact? What will be done to ensure that they benefit from this research? Detail how the proposed research project will be managed to engage users and beneficiaries and increase the likelihood of impacts: Communication and engagement plans Collaboration arrangements Plans for exploitation, where appropriate Relevant experience and track record
What resources might you request to carry out your impact plan/activities? Extra time allocated to impact activities Training (e.g. public engagement or communications) Workshops, seminars, networking events Communicating to the public Publication costs Employment of consultants etc
Measuring public engagement
Evaluating impact Determining the impact of research is not straightforward This is particularly the case in social science where policy and service development is not a linear process, and decisions are rarely taken on the basis of research evidence alone
Challenges of measurement It can be difficult to pin down the role that an individual piece of research has played The timing of evaluation also presents challenges. Too soon after the research ends may mean that any impact has yet to fully develop, too late and the impact may no longer be traceable as people involved have moved on
Advice from UK funding councils? If you build impact in from the start then evaluation will become more part and parcel of the process User involvement will feed in throughout the whole process Tracking and monitoring progress against targets will help keep track of evidence Research upon research? Work in progress
Reviewing impact EXCELLENCE Novelty, relationship to the context, and timeliness Ambition, adventure, and transformative aspects Appropriateness of the proposed methodology IMPACT Extent to which the proposal shows the potential impact Relevance/appropriateness of any beneficiaries or collaborators Appropriateness of dissemination and knowledge exchange routes and resources ABILITY TO DELIVER Appropriateness of the track record of the applicant(s) Balance of skills of the project team, including academic collaborators PLANNING AND RESOURCES Effectiveness of the proposed planning & management Appropriateness of the requested resources – justified?
Discussion: review impact in grants Extent to which the proposal shows the potential impact Relevance/appropriateness of any beneficiaries or collaborators Appropriateness of dissemination and knowledge exchange routes and resources
Group work – draft a pathway Discuss your summaries – work in groups and choose one research project Using the flip chart outline: the chosen lay summary of the project non-academic beneficiaries/partners how will they benefit activities which will help to produce impact ( consider ways this might be evaluated?)
Tips for better impact Say what you are going to DO Be clear and precise including names and details Use and maximise existing links Encourage ‘active participation with’ and ‘people exchange’ Use new media routes to engage others Be creative, enjoy it! Use public engagement Think ‘outside the box’ Remember impact is broader than commercial exploitation
In summary It is about maximising the impact of activities It is about showing our value The activities funded are not changing
Further information UK All 7 UK Research Councils: RCUK Pathways to Impact: National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement: Australia Australian Research Council: Australian Academy of the Humanities: ernance/Council.aspx