I'd like to signpost you to some recent research impact resources and news you may find useful. Not everyone gets my updates on Twitter, and it's been a while since the last issue of the Fast Track Impact Magazine, so I thought an email update might be useful. I've grouped things under themes, so if you’re not interested in the UK's REF process (and let’s face it – those of us who are, only have an interest because we have to), you can skip over those links to more interesting stuff below. Enjoy!
Essential research impact updates
Three things you need to read about REF2021:
- Everything you need to know about the latest REF2021 guidance on impact in less than a minute https://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2018/08/24/Everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-latest-REF2021-guidance-on-impact-in-less-than-a-minute
- What made a 4* impact case study in REF2014? Preliminary findings based on a thematic analysis of 175 high and low scoring cases combined with quantitative linguistic analysis. This is work I’ve done with my PhD student Bella Reichard and a number of colleagues mainly from professional services. This blog is based on preliminary analysis, and we’ll be submitting the paper based on the full analysis for publication in a few months: https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/steps-to-a-top-scoring-impact-case-study. Alternatively, you can get more detail and an accompanying infographic in this extended blog: https://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2018/06/04/What-made-a-4-impact-case-study-in-REF2014
- Does REF create a conflict of interest for researchers who are submitting impacts? The answer is that I really don’t know, but I think we should be worried, and thinking deeply about this. I’d love to hear your reactions to this blog I wrote with Jagtar Singh Nijjar: https://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2018/03/23/Does-REF-create-a-conflict-of-interest-for-researchers-who-are-submitting-impacts
Three resources I've enjoyed making or reading that will help you generate impact:
- I was asked to do a podcast interview while I was in Australia last week and didn't realise till I arrived and they put a beer in my hand that it was a comedy show. This is what happened next... https://soundcloud.com/wholesomeshow/big-impact-impact-with-professor-mark-reed
- How to achieve policy impact: a guide for early career researchers has been produced by Megan Evans and Chris Cvitanovic https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-018-0144-2
- 13 reasons to engage with impact – beautiful SlideShare by Esther De Smet https://www.slideshare.net/sterretje8/societal-impact-13-reasons-why
Three things you might have missed about evidencing impact:
- I’m writing a review paper about methods for evaluating impact at the moment (which I’m planning to turn into a book), and have disappeared down a rabbit hole with Rachel Blanche from Queen Mary University Edinburgh, exploring methods for evaluating impact from the arts and humanities – fascinating stuff and I can’t wait to share it with you. In the meantime, this LSE impact blog post by Leslie Brook caught my attention. It is more about how to evidence impact from art research than it is about using methods from art research to evaluate impact, but it offers some useful advice about how to evaluate impact across multiple disciplines http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/08/13/lining-up-the-dominoes-lessons-from-art-research-on-how-to-evidence-impact/
- Celebrate change makers in the impact debate: nominate someone for the Emeral Publishing impact prize (deadline 12th October 2018): http://www.emeraldpublishing.com/real-impact-awards/
- Measuring research impact—all the rage but hard to get right. Richard Smith has written an accessible blog about methods for impact evaluation based on Trish Greenhalgh’s recent paper on the topic: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2018/07/30/richard-smith-measuring-research-impact-rage-hard-get-right/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork
What I’m reading at the moment
I recently finished reading The Slow Professor by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber. At the heart of this book is a shift in focus from the outputs of research to the process of researching, encouraging us to slow down enough to appreciate our need for others. We need to be more mindful of the motives behind our day-to-day choices, and the power that they have to enable us to produce work we are deeply pleased with. In my review of the book I’ve also described the things that I was less keen on and considered how it links to (or contrasts with) my own approach in The Productive Researcher.
I hope you've found this useful - if so, please share with colleagues you think would benefit from these resources! They can sign up for future emails here.
Enjoy the rest of your day,
Research England & N8 funded Chair of Socio-Technical Innovation
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University
N8 Agri-Food, Institute for Agri-Food Research & Innovation and Centre for Rural Economy
Working across the N8 Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York
Visiting Professor at University of Leeds and Birmingham City University
Research Lead for International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s UK Peatland Programme
Fast track your impact: training for researchers by researchers
I work two evenings a week, so if this email arrives outside office hours, please do not feel you have to reply until normal working hours.