Posts in SBS Category

Guide to Research Impact Evidence Collection

There is a growing body of opinion that holds that researchers have a responsibility to articulate the impact of their research to non-academic audiences. Indeed, the way in which research funding is allocated now increasingly reflects researchers’ ability to generate, demonstrate and evidence their impact.

A renewed emphasis on the importance of both planning and evidencing research impact requires researchers to develop ever-more robust and integrated ‘pathways to impact’ (as illustrated by Research Councils UK) within research funding bids in order to identify and reward the contribution that high-quality research will make to the economy or to society. 

Although there are as yet no specific guidelines on what constitutes impact evidence in terms of the next REF2021 exercise, the following pointers provide an indication of what researchers should be thinking about as they start to collect and collate evidence to support their impact.

 

General advice on collecting impact evidence

  • If you are looking to generate impact from your research, ensure that you engage from the start with the University Impact, Engagement and Environment Coordinator (Emma Sutton) and your School Impact Coordinator
  • Consider what indicators of impact are going to be used at the onset of the project – how will success be measured throughout and what will need to be captured?
  • Complete a stakeholder analysis for your potential impact
  • Be able to clearly demonstrate the pathway to impact: what were the steps taken, what is the embedded research etc.
  • Be able to articulate the significance of the potential impact (reach, audience, policy change, technology development) – the “Why should we care?” question
  • Use existing and well-understood baselines and gold standards to measure impact
  • Remember to store all impact evidence on an ongoing basis in the Figshare repository (see below for further details)

 

Here are examples of what evidence could look like:

    • Quotations from high profile figures
    • Testimonials, interviews (always including who, when, where and job title and with consent to reproduce)
    • Specific examples e.g. increased value of a company or number of lives saved by a new technology
    • Published reports as a result of research conducted (especially reports commissioned by independent bodies or those external to the immediate project)
    • Delegate lists to key meetings/conferences/exhibitions/events
    • Letters of support from external bodies

**Look to use both qualitative and quantitative data where possible!**

 

Points to remember:

    • Make sure that the evidence will be available in time to meet REF2021 deadlines
    • Ensure that information is robust and credible
    • Ensure that information is independently verifiable
    • Link evidence to clear targets and indicate whether these were met or exceeded
    • Provide evidence of research being widely disseminated, e.g. through tweets, blogs, access to websites, press coverage, broadcastings, downloads, sales
    • Find ways of communicating the research as it progresses to develop wider impact along the way (not just at the end)
    • Conduct exit interviews with the business if ending relationship/researcher if leaving institution – evidence of impact must be captured before departure
    • Be able to demonstrate that without the research, the impact would not have occurred: how has the research made the difference?

 

The University now uses the Figshare data repository alongside USIR in order for researchers to store evidence relating to their research.

It is therefore good practice for all researchers to begin storing all their impact evidence in Figshare from now onwards so that an institutional repository of impact case study evidence can be built upon.

Currently, Figshare accounts have been created for all those researchers within each School who have been identified as potentials for submitting an impact case study to REF2021 and beyond.

Figshare can be accessed at the following link: https://salford.figshare.com/

Figshare also run monthly webinars to help researchers understand the basics of the system and it is highly recommended that you register for one of these at the following address:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5kx95ST4RC-XKMYlguumgw

 

 

Remember: the earlier you begin collecting and collating your impact evidence, the easier it will make the final impact case study submission!

 

 


Research Impact and Funding

There is a growing body of opinion that holds that researchers have a responsibility to articulate the impact of their research to non-academic audiences. Indeed, the way in which research funding is allocated now increasingly reflects researchers’ ability to generate and demonstrate impact.

A renewed emphasis on the importance of both planning and evidencing research impact requires researchers to develop increasingly robust and integrated ‘pathways to impact’ (as illustrated by Research Councils UK) within research funding bids in order to identify and reward the contribution that high-quality research will make to the economy or to society.

 

Newton's cradle impact imageIn the current research funding climate there is also an urgent need for HEIs to generate income streams from sources other than the Higher Education Funding Councils. Now more than ever HEIs are seeking to raise their profiles and develop relationships with industry, policymakers and other stakeholders in a bid to identify new sources of revenue and facilitate knowledge exchange.

Generating impact, and consequently ensuring that a full range of stakeholders will benefit from the research, is therefore integral to Salford’s research strategy and feeds into its single strategic priority around the Industry Collaboration Zones (ICZs).

The recent announcement by HEFCE that Impact will have a 25% weighting in the forthcoming REF2021 exercise (compared with its 20% weighting in REF2014) serves to further reinforce the importance and relevance of the research impact agenda to HEIs today and in the future.

 

Research Impact Fund

To support researchers at Salford in becoming more ‘impactful’, the University operates an internal Research Impact Fund.

This offers small grants of up to £1000 (match-funded by School/Research Centre) to individuals and groups in support of activities that:

  • reflect the University’s desire to increase the impact and reach of its research
  • highlight strategic engagement that builds upon the University’s vision to pioneer ‘exceptional industry partnerships’

The Fund is currently open for new applications, with a deadline of Friday, 19th January 2018 for the latest round. Further details and the application form can be found here:  https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Impact%20Funding.aspx

 

If you would like to find out more about the Research Impact Fund, or impact in general, please contact Emma Sutton, Interim Impact, Engagement and Environment Coordinator on research-impact@salford.ac.uk

Alternatively, please visit the Impact pages on our REF intranet site for further details on impact resources, funding opportunities and upcoming training events: https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Impact.aspx

 


How to Write a 4* Journal Article

Professor Mark Reed, Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University

In December, Prof Mark Reed, Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University and the man behind Fast Track Impact, tweeted some thoughts on how to write a 4* paper for the REF and wrote a blog about it. This post is published here with the author’s permission.

How do you write a 4* paper for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)? It is a question I’ve asked myself with some urgency since the Stern Review shredded my REF submission by not allowing me to bring my papers with me this year to my new position at Newcastle University.

Obviously the answer is going to differ depending on your discipline, but I think there are a few simple things that everyone can do to maximize their chances of getting a top graded research output.

I’m going to start with the assumption that you’ve actually done original, significant and rigorous work – if you haven’t then there is no point in reading any further. However, as I am increasingly asked to pre-review papers for colleagues across a range of disciplines, I am seeing examples of people who write up work as a 2* or 3* paper that has the potential to get a better score. I should point out that I believe that there is an important role for 1* and 2* papers, and that I regularly write these on purpose to address a problem of national significance and frame it for the specific, narrow audience that is likely to be able to benefit most from my work. However, whether I like it or not, as a Professor in a research-intensive University, there is an expectation that I will be submitted as a 4* researcher, which means I need a few 4* papers as well.

You can see some more detailed thoughts on what I think makes 4* for different types of paper in this Tweet:

https://twitter.com/profmarkreed/status/801348612345253888/photo/1

As you’ll see from the discussion under that tweet though, my more detailed thoughts probably only apply to Units of Assessment across panels A-C, and probably isn’t relevant to the arts and humanities.

Having said this, I think there are a number of things we can all do to maximize the chances of our work being viewed favourably by REF panelists.

  1. Write to the criteria:when I was learning to drive, my instructor told me that in the test I should make sure I moved my head when I was looking in the rear view mirror, to make sure the examiner noticed I was using my mirrors. We’re all used to writing to the criteria of funding calls, and in fact we are all perfectly used to writing papers to the criteria of our target journals. In the last REF, research outputs were judged against three criteria: originality, significance and rigour. Whatever the interpretation of these criteria in your discipline, have you made it explicit to REF panelists reading your work exactly what is original, and why it is so original? Have you explained and effectively justified the significance of your work? And have you included evidence that your methods, analysis and interpretation is rigorous, even if you have to use supplementary material to include extra detail about your methods and data to get around journal word limits?
  2. Get REF feedback before you submit your work for publication:find out who is going to be reviewing research outputs for REF internally within your Unit of Assessment at your institution and ask them to review your work before you submit it. They may be able to make recommendations about how you might improve the paper in light of the REF criteria. Sometimes a little bit of extra work on the framing of your research in relation to wider contexts and issues can help articulate the significance of your work, and with additional reading and thinking, you may be able to position your work more effectively in relation to previous work to demonstrate its originality more clearly. Adding a few extra details to your methods and results may re-assure readers and reviewers that your approach is indeed rigorous. This is not just about doing world-leading research; it is about demonstrating to the world that your work is indeed world-leading. For me, these criteria are nothing new and are worth paying attention to, whether or not we are interested in REF. Meeting these three criteria will increase the chances that you get through peer-review and will increase the likelihood that your work gets cited.
  3. Analyse and discuss good practice in your own area: the only way to really “get your eye in” for REF is to actually look at examples of good and poor practice in your own area. Below, I’ve described how you can design an exercise to do this with your colleagues. You can do it yourself and learn a lot, but from my own experience, you learn a lot more by doing this as a discussion exercise with colleagues who work in your area. If you can, take notes from your discussion and try and distill some of the key lessons, so you can learn collectively as a group and more effectively review and support each other’s work.

How to organize a discussion to work out what makes a 4* paper in your area:

  • Identify top scoring institutions for your Unit of Assessment (UOA): download the REF2014 results, filter for your UOA (columns E or F), then filter so it only shows you the outputs (column J), and then filter for 4* (column L), showing only the institutions from your UOA that had the highest percentage of 4* outputs. Now for those institutions, look across the table (columns L-P) to see which has the highest proportion of outputs at either 3* or 4*. For example, an institution may have 80% of its outputs graded at 4* and 15% graded at 3*, meaning that 95% of its outputs were graded at 3-4*
  • Download a selection of papers from the top scoring institutions: go to your UOA on the REF website, find and click on the institutions you’ve identified in step 1, under “view submission data”, click on “research outputs”, copy and paste output titles into Google Scholar (or your search engine of choice) and download the articles. You may want to select outputs randomly, or you may want to go through more selectively, identifying outputs that are close to the areas your group specialize in
  • Repeat for low scoring institutions so you can compare and contrast high and low scoring outputs
  • Discuss examples: print copies of the high and low scoring outputs, labeled clearly, and in your next UOA meeting, let everyone choose a high and a low-scoring example. Given them 10-15 minutes to quickly read the outputs (focusing on title, abstract, introduction, figures and conclusions so you’re not there all day) and then ask the group (or small groups if there are many of you) to discuss the key factors that they think distinguish between high and low scoring outputs. Get your group(s) to distill the key principles that they think are most useful and disseminate these more widely to the group, so that anyone who wasn’t present can benefit.

It would be great if I could tell you that these are my “three easy ways to get a 4* paper” but doing work that is genuinely original, significant and rigorous is far from easy. If you have done work that is of the highest quality though, I hope that the ideas I’ve suggested here will help you get the credit you deserve for the great research you’ve done.


ESRC Festival of Social Science 2017 – Call for Proposals

ESRC Festival 15th Year BannerBuilding upon the successful collaboration from last year, University of Salford will partner with the Economic and Social Research Council, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University to deliver the ESRC Manchester Festival of Social Science.

The aim of the Festival is to showcase Manchester social science research to a broad non-academic audience. Last year we hosted an eclectic blend of activities designed to celebrate the social sciences, including discussions and debates, exhibitions, schools visits, workshops, and lots more.

The call for applications is now open. The Festival runs from 4-11 November and will involve academics working alongside community and cultural partners to create engaging and inspiring research-led events, aimed at a broadly non-academic audience. The goal is to provide an insight into the many ways social science contributes to social, economic and political life across our cities, regions and beyond.

Any researcher or team can apply to hold an event under the ESRC Festival banner. Applicants can also request up to £1,000 sponsorship from the University of Salford to hold an event as part of the Festival. This will also be an excellent opportunity to tag these events to the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Events must include social science and seek to engage groups outside of academia including young people, third sector organisations, business, local government, policy makers and the general public.

We particularly welcome applications that:

  • Seek to bring together two or more festival partners
  • Seek to deliver interdisciplinary events
  • Consider the role and future of social science as a discipline
  • Involve early career researchers
  • Address issues pertinent to the Manchester city-region

For inspiration and ideas for the kind of event you might run, you can find out about the 2016 events at www.esrcmanchesterfest.ac.uk

Please note, applications SHOULD NOT be made directly to the ESRC, but rather via the University of Salford. The application deadline is 4pm on Friday 5th of May. The application form and guidance can be requested through research-impact@salford.ac.uk.

Further details can be found on the ESRC website, including eligibility criteria: www.esrc.ac.uk/public-engagement/festival-of-social-science/apply-to-organise-an-event/

 


Publishing in Scholarly Journals

Peer review of scholarly writingAs a researcher, sharing your work is essential to furthering the discussion, development and potentially even funding of your findings. The sheer quantity of guides available on “how to write” and “how to target X journal” perhaps signifying the impact of targeting the right place and the best audience for your research.

Before reaching the stage of submitting in the hope of publication, many publishers expect researchers to have already made some key considerations:

  1. Is your research original, engaging, innovative?
  2. Who do you expect to be the audience for your research?
  3. Which journal(s) do you think might be interested in accepting your article for publication and does your article fit with their aims, scope and style?
  4. What are your open access needs?
  5. Is your manuscript suitably and well written (free from grammatical error, solid narrative, clear abstract and conclusions) in accordance with the journal’s style guide?

Your researching peers and foremost, your supervisor, are the best place to start for advice on where to publish and whether your manuscript is ready. Then, once you think you have found the right journal for your article, you should read their Author’s Guide and make sure you can freely submit to them as some journals are invitation-only.

Read more…..


Salford Business School to launch Insights & Networking Series

Ambition Sculpture, University of SalfordSalford Business School is set to launch an Insights & Networking Series later this month. The programme of events aims to connect colleagues, alumni, students, employers and industry partners.

The first event will be a Salford Law Alumni Mixer, to be held on Wednesday 30 November in the Lady Hale building. The Law Mixer has been designed and organised by Lizzy Przychodzki and Lucy Fish, who together have created a unique event open to all colleagues, current students and alumni. The event will welcome recent Salford law graduates who will talk about their time at Salford and their route to employment. This will be followed by networking sessions and notable industry guest speakers who will highlight their own route into the profession, as well as key tips on applications and interview techniques.

Undergraduate Programme Director Lizzy Przychodzki says: “For me, the purpose of the event is to really celebrate Salford and our students. By bringing in some of our recent alumni to pass on their insights, anecdotes and Salford pride, we can really inspire students to use all the great support on offer here so that they too can reach their career goals.”

The schedule for the day runs as follows:

13.00 – 13.30:        Registration

13.30 – 15.00:        Welcome, Alumni speakers & Q&A (G14, Lady Hale)

15.00 – 15.30:        Mixer and networking (G06/07, Lady Hale)

15.30 – 16.30:        Industry speakers, Q&A & closing (G14, Lady Hale)

 

Confirmed industry speakers are Tom Smith, a Partner at Forbes Solicitors, and the Manchester Trainees Solicitors Group. Further solicitor and barrister guests are soon to be announced.

Lucy Fish, Alumni Engagement Officer, says: “We’re really excited to launch the Insights and Networking Series at the Business School. Our Law Mixer on the 30 November promises to be a great networking event with some top industry speakers. We’re hoping the events will develop into something innovative and exciting for the school.”

Places can be booked through Advantage here.

If you have any questions please contact Lizzy Przychodzki on 52124.


Understanding Chinese students’ postgraduate choice of universities

ESCR-Festival logo

This event will review recent research into the decision making processes of Chinese students in their postgraduate study choices in international higher education markets. The event will consist of a  joint  presentation from Dr. Peter Reeves (University of Salford) and Dr. Lei Zhu (Xi’an Eurasia University, China via video link) followed by a question and answer session.

For further information, contact Peter Reeves (p.reeves@salford.ac.uk)

Date/Time
10 November 2016
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Location
Maxwell Building, University of Salford
The Crescent
Salford
M5 4WT


Controlling and coercive behaviour: Exploring the new law on domestic abuse (Part 2)

ESCR-Festival logo

This is one of two linked events, exploring the meaning and impact of controlling and coercive behaviour. Sian Hawkins, the Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager at Women’s Aid Federation England, will speak at this event.

The events will explore the new criminal offence of ‘controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate or familial relationship’ introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015. They are aimed at survivors of domestic abuse, voluntary sector organisations in the Greater Manchester area whose work involves advising or supporting women experiencing domestic abuse, and local policy-makers. The first event will focus on the voices of survivors’ of domestic abuse, and this follow-on event will explore the ways in which the new offence could be used in practice to protect women from domestic abuse and prosecute perpetrators.

This event is aimed primarily at staff in third sector organisations in the Greater Manchester area whose work includes providing support, information, or advocacy to women who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse. It will include a presentation which will explain the new legislation, and will aim to draw on participants’ own knowledge in exploring the legislation’s potential for improving criminal justice responses to domestic abuse.

The event will be chaired by Maureen O’Hara (m.ohara@salford.ac.uk), who will also present. It will explore the potential uses of the new legislation in the context of the patterns of coercive control identified in research, and in survivors’ accounts.

Related events:

Controlling and coercive behaviour:  Exploring the new law on domestic abuse (Part 1)

Date/Time
09 November 2016
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location
Lecture Theatre 1, Chapman Building
University of Salford
Salford
M5 4BR

Register at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/controlling-and-coercive-behaviour-exploring-the-new-law-on-domestic-abuse-part-2-tickets-28505517771

 


The economic & commercial contribution of sport to Manchester, the region, Britain & beyond (Manchester: A Global Centre of Sport, Part 3)

ESCR-Festival logo

Sport, sport and more sport. Get inside the commercial and economic contribution that it makes to Manchester and beyond.

Manchester has developed an international reputation as being a home to high quality, world-class sport. Whether it is the global fanbase of United and City or the performances of British Cycling, everyone knows about Manchester. Sport therefore makes an important economic and commercial contribution to the city, the regions and indeed to Britain and beyond. The main aim of this event will be to examine the nature of this contribution, to discuss ways in which the contribution of sport can be further strengthened and to explore the role of the public can play in doing this.

This event will bring in top people from sport to explain how the economic and commercial well-being is linked to the city’s sporting profile and successes.

This is part of a series of football-themed events on the same date and in the same venue.  Refreshments are available from 5pm, followed at 5.30pm by a session led by Manchester Metropolitan University on the socio-cultural impact of football in Manchester.  An event led by the University of Manchester on stadium renaming is at 6.30pm and is then followed at 7.30pm by this session, led by Salford University, on the commercial impact of football.  Refreshments and opportunities for networking are available at 8.15pm.  Registration for each event is separate but attendees are welcome to attend as many of the events as they wish.

Date/Time
07 November 2016
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Location
University of Salford – Media City Campus
Media City
Salford
M50 2HE

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manchester-a-global-centre-of-sport-registration-26748430275


Exploring the impact of and responses to child sexual exploitation

ESCR-Festival logo

This interactive event recognises the collaborative engagement of young people (11 upwards) and practitioners across Greater Manchester in responding to the threat of child sexual exploitation.

Ann Coffey MP will open the event, as her research in engaging young people’s ‘Real Voices’ has been foundational in cultivating a range of interventions and developmental projects across our region. We want to celebrate the work that has been produced and in particular the contribution made by young people.

We begin with a film produced by GW Theatre which explores the complexity of child sexual exploitation. This will be followed by a festival of activity where young people and practitioners will be able to share and learn from the multiple projects. These include the development of a psycho-social engagement model for NHS England and the Greater Manchester Police led CTZN app.

Refreshments will be provided.

Date/Time
07 November 2016
4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Location
Robert Powell Theatre, University of Salford
Frederick Road
Salford
M6 6PU

Please register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/esrc-social-science-festival-exploring-impact-of-and-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-tickets-28420744211