Hi everyone

Good luck finishing everything off this week for Christmas! Before you start, to keep you inspired and motivated as you work this week, my latest newsletter has loads of great resources, ideas and new evidence on impact - enjoy!

Help shape YOUR impact community of practice

Do you want a place where those of us with impact roles can help and support each other? In September 2020, Fast Track Impact ran a training course for UK professional service staff working on impact, and everyone wanted to meet up again. So we did, and everyone decided that it would be great if we could keep doing this. However, rather than restricting this to those who attended the training, we'd like to open this to others working on impact in the UK and elsewhere. The goal is to create a community of people who can help and support each other as they empower others to achieve impact. If you'd like to be part of this community, this is your chance to help shape it! I'll send you the survey results and propose some plans in my next newsletter. Take the survey now (takes 2-3 mins):

Join the discussion now. In the meantime, I've been getting a lot out of the International Impact JISCM@il list - of particular value is Danny Kingsley's monthly discussion topic - join the discussion and share your own ideas and resources here.

Get involved in the slow research revolution. Talking of communities, a diverse group of researchers and professional services staff are coalescing around the idea of a Slow Research Revolution. They are looking for feedback on their manifesto here (by the end of the week, 18th December). 

New from Fast Track Impact

New paper on evidencing impact. Evaluating impact from research: A methodological framework. New peer-reviewed article led by me with help from Rachel Blanche (QMU) and colleagues in the iCASP project. See the accompanying decision tree and slides. This paper has been almost four years in the making and underwent many permutations before it has eventually made it into the light of day. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it with such a diverse and wise team!

January Reading Group - still places left. Last month's Reading Group with James Gow and Henry Redwood was fascinating, so I can't wait for next month's session with Ruth Machen about her work on impact from critical research. Come along on 29th January from 1-2 pm to discuss how how research that challenges powerful elites can have impact. Book here.

Bookings now open for February Reading Group. Engage with a short overview of key points from Justin Gest's new book, Mass Appeal: Communicating Policy Ideas in Multiple Media, and exchange ideas with the author and other participants about how you can use the tips in his book to transform your own communication with policy makers and the media. Those who register will receive an exclusive discount on the book. Register now to get your discount code. Friday 26th February, 4-5 pm. Book here.

New blog on leadership for impact. To co-incide with my new leadership role at SRUC (see the end of this email for more info), I've started working with a leadership coach. I'd been doing quite a lot of thinking about leadership for impact already, having written a chapter about it for my forthcoming book, Impact Culture (released in April 2021). So I thought I'd start a blog series to share what I learn and stimulate discussion with others thinking about the kind of leadership we need for impact. Read it here

Arabic version of The Research Impact Handbook is now available. Get your copy here.

The most read new resource from my last newsletter: Tips and tools for making your online meetings and workshops more interactive. New guide by Sawsan Khuri and Mark Reed

Research on impact

New book, Maximising the Impacts of Academic Research, by Patrick Dunleavy and Jane Tinkler, provides a spirited defence of the impact agenda and "fast" research. Read their LSE Impact Blog or get your copy here.

New book, Research Impact: Guidance on advancement, achievement and assessment, by Hugh McKenna includes an analysis of 310 REF2014 case studies, showing that impacts on the "health professions" were dominated by research that used RCTs and surveys and was funded by industry and NIHR to change health policy and practice. Read my full Twitter review here.

New book, Mass Appeal: Communicating Policy Ideas in Multiple Media, by Justin Gest is full of practical advice and great ideas to get research into policy via the media. Read my Twitter review.

Where in the UK is academic engagement with policy coming from? A new interactive map enables you to see which Universities are engaging most with which UK Governments and briefings. The map shows a clear preference for Russell Group universities (accounting for 75% of witnesses) and for universities based close to parliament.

COVID-19: effective policymaking depends on trust in experts, politicians, and the public. New research by
Paul Cairney and Adam Wellstead.

New research shows researchers tend to shun industry research collaborations in favour of collaborations likely to yield the most peer-reviewed outputs.

New analysis shows grant applicants often write about academic impacts in the non-academic impact sections, and reviewers prefer short-term economic impacts, and are more likely to comment on formative than summative impact claims.

New study shows inverse relationship between status and use of jargon: the lower your academic status, the more likely you are to use jargon in an attempt to signal academic status to your peers.

New paper shows researchers don’t include impact on their CVs because they don’t perceive it is valued by employers and there are no templates. Here's my guide to creating an infographic CV including impact.

Other useful resources

Stronger Together: a guide for co-researchers working on co-produced research projects. Practical and concise new booklet from University of York.

University of Auckland have now run four webinars in their Impact Through Culture Change series, and the last one with David Phipps on "Impact Networks Drive Impact Culture Change" is available now to watch here.

Who cares about university research? The answer depends on its impacts. Essay based on the Impact at UTS podcast, which explains how "engagement is based on shared values, which become shared language and shared understandings".

Science communication is more important than ever. Here are 3 lessons from around the world on what makes it work.

Common policy problems and what researchers can do about them. Great new LSE Impact Blog by Raj Patel from University of Essex.

Good guidance for discussing contested issues with stakeholders (and family this Christmas) who disagree with you: 6 practical steps founded on empathy, curiosity and humility.

Research impact news

Worrying evidence from Australia of "science suppression" to protect Government and industry interests, research funding and people's careers.

UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway proposes major reform of research and impact assessment after REF2021 to “build the research culture we all aspire to”.

Using the REF to fix research culture risks backfiring: a commentary on the UKRI's attempt to improve research culture better suggesting that "a better, more inclusive research culture is not divorced from broader culture—so how can a government promote equity in one, while fostering intolerance in the other?"

PIs have been getting peer reviews asking for missing pathways to impact despite the requirement being removed in March. Interesting dissection of the aftermath of the decision to remove pathways by Matt McCallum. Read here.

Thanks to academics, UK Parliament has greater access than ever before to research evidence and expertise. New report by Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit.

Finally, those of you who know me might be interested to know that I've started a new job at Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) as Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship and Director of their Thriving Natural Capital Challenge Centre. Read the press release or my "day in the life" blog to find out more.

CEO Fast Track Impact
Tel. 07538082343
Find me on Twitter and LinkedIn

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