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Published byBerenice Goodman Modified over 7 years ago
Writing Impact into Research Funding Applications Paula Gurteen Centre for Advanced Studies
1. Context of impact 2. Staying competitive 3. Impact requirements in research council funding applications (via JeS) ---- 1. Research planning – possible routes to research-led impact 2. Questions
Research and innovation are seen by Government as essential to maintaining and developing the UK’s position in the global economy. As a result over the past decade more funds have been made available for research, £3.4 billion in 2007/8 compared to £1.3 billion in 1997. At the same time, there is a growing demand for the research community to demonstrate the value of this investment by showing the impact of their research.
The Research Councils define impact in the following ways: 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. 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.
Do not expect applicants to be able to predict the economic or societal impacts that research will achieve. But, want to encourage applicants to consider and explore potential pathways to impact, for example through engagement or collaboration with partners. The primary criterion for RCUK funding remains excellent research. Beyond that there are a number of considerations to be taken into account, of which Pathways to Impact are one. This means that when you have two equally excellent proposals, good Pathways to Impact could make a difference within the funding process. The onus rests with research applicants to consider and demonstrate how they would achieve excellence with impact.
RCs bid for continued funding Government Spending Review Societal Impacts Money for RC disciplines
ESRC Strategic Plan 2009-14 Engaging with potential research users from the earliest stage in the research process is a key factor in helping to ensure the findings are subsequently taken up and exploited. A range of funding mechanisms specific to impact and knowledge exchange are now offered: Follow on Fund, support for KTP etc. A priority for this strategic plan is to enhance the impact of individual grants, by placing greater emphasis on user engagement in application and assessment procedures.
‘The ESRC expects that the researchers it funds will have identified the potential scientific, societal and economic impacts of their research, and will actively consider how these can be maximised and developed. This will be reflected within the assessment process. Opportunities for making an impact may arise, and should be taken, at any stage during or after the life-course of the research. Excellent research without obvious or immediate societal or economic impact will not be disadvantaged in the assessment process.’
Understand the requirements for the three sections that relate to Impact in research council applications: academic beneficiaries, impact statement and pathways to impact attachment– and work beyond that to show potential impact throughout your application. Be detailed, realistic and reasonable. Where possible plan for impact by including partners and any potential beneficiaries of your research from the outset.
Within the online Je-S application system there are three main sections on impact: Academic Beneficiaries Impact Summary ‘Pathways to impact’ attachment
This requires a statement on how your proposed research will contribute to: 1. Knowledge in your discipline and if applicable across disciplines; 2. knowledge in your institutional research environment, other UK academic environments and the International research environment as appropriate.
Pick out the relevance of the research to the beneficiaries: 1. Potential academic impact of the proposed work; 2. How the research will benefit other researchers (this might include methodological or theoretical advances); 3. Whether the research will produce data or materials of benefit to other researchers. Explain how these will be stored, maintained and made available; 4. Explain any collaboration with other researchers and their role in the project.
This section requires you to cover the following two questions: 1. Who will benefit from your research outside academia? 2. How will they benefit from your research?
Consider a wider group than your immediate field of interest. For example consider: 1. Is there anyone, including policy-makers, within international, national, local or devolved government and government agencies who would benefit from this research? 2. Are there users in the public, private and third sectors who might use the results to their advantage? Examples include charities, museums, galleries. 3. Are there any beneficiaries within the wider public?
Consider how the groups identified will benefit: 1. Explain what the specific impacts for these groups will be and what their importance will be; 2. Estimate the realistic timescales for the benefits to be realised; 3. Consider the transferrable skills the research will bring to those involved in the project and how they could then be applied in other employment sectors.
Explain how the research has the potential to impact on the nation’s health, wealth or culture. For example could the research: 1. Foster global economic performance, specifically the economic competitiveness of the UK? 2. Increase the effectiveness of public services and or policy? 3. Enhance quality of life, health and creative output?
This document is a separate attachment of up to 2 pages. Building on the ‘who’ and ‘how’ questions of the impact summary, It asks you primarily to address the following question: What will be done to ensure that potential beneficiaries have the opportunity to engage with this research? Note that this is specific to the non-academic users and beneficiaries of the research. Plans for engaging with academic audiences may be included but only where these form part of the critical pathway towards economic and societal impact.
When completing the Pathways to Impact document, consider: Planned methods of communicating and engaging with the identified beneficiaries (e.g., website, workshops, publications etc.) as well as your track record to date in engaging with them. appropriate collaboration and exploitation methods; Who is likely to be undertaking the impact activities (e.g., PI, Co-I, researchers, specialised staff) and what is their track record in this area? Is additional training required? Timescales and milestones for delivering the planned impact activities. Resources for impact: you can request costs to cover impact activities and these should be fully justified in the JoR.
OrganisationWeblink for information RCUKhttp://impacts.rcuk.ac.uk/default.htm JEShttps://je- s.rcuk.ac.uk/jesHandbook/jesHelp.aspx?m=s&s=1202 ESRChttp://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/Support/e srcexpectations/faq.aspx NERChttp://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/application/pathwaystoimpac t.asp
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