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Confirmed Impact Guidance for REF2021

With less than 2 years to go until our REF submission (deadline: Friday, 27th November 2020), the final set of guidance materials for REF2021 (including guidance on submissions and panel guidelines) was published on 31 January 2019 following wide consultation with the sector in late 2018. The final guidance documentation is available at www.ref.ac.uk/publications/

What does this mean for impact?

The salient points to take from the final REF guidance on impact case study submission are as follows:

Definition of impact for the REF

For the purposes of the REF, impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.

Impact includes, but is not limited to, an effect on, change or benefit to:

• the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding

• of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals

• in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally

Impact also includes the reduction or prevention of harm, risk, cost or other negative effects.

Impacts will be assessed in terms of their ‘reach and significance’ regardless of the geographic location in which they occurred, whe

ther locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

Impact also includes the reduction or prevention of harm, risk, cost or other negative effects.

Each of the four main panels (A, B, C, D) have slightly different requirements for the following:

• Continued case studies

• Indicators of quality for underpinning research

UoA Leads/Deputies are therefore encouraged to look closely at the panel guidance for their particular panel when reviewing impact case study drafts.

Submission requirements

• Each submission must include impact case studies (REF3 template) describing specific impacts that have occurred during the assessment period (1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020) that were underpinned by excellent research undertaken in the submitted unit. The underpinning research must have been produced by the submitting HEI during the period 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2020.

• This may include, for example, impacts at an early stage, or impacts that may have started prior to 1 August 2013 but continued into the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020. Case studies will be assessed in terms of the reach and significance of the impact that occurred only during the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020, and not in terms of any impact prior to this period or potential future or anticipated impact after this period.

• When writing case studies, submitting units should refer to the guidelines for presenting quantitative data set out in the ‘Guidelines for standardising quantitative indicators of impact within REF case studies’. These guidelines have been developed to enable more consistent presentation of quantitative evidence in case studies. This document (and a summary thereof) can be found separately at www.salford.ac.uk/ref under Impact Evidence Collection.

• More than one submitted unit (within the same HEI and/or in different HEIs) may include the same impact within their respective case studies, so long as each submitted unit produced excellent research that made a distinct and material contribution to the impact. In such cases, units may provide common descriptions of the impact arising, where they so wish.

• Impact case studies continued from examples submitted in 2014 will be eligible for submission in REF 2021 as long as they meet the 2021 eligibility criteria, including the length of the window for underpinning research and the assessment period for the impact described.

Go to www.salford.ac.uk/ref to check out all the REF guidance and more.


Research Impact Fund – Special Call

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

• up to £1000 that must be match-funded by your 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, and/or highlight strategic engagement that builds upon the University’s vision to pioneer ‘exceptional industry partnerships’.

Or

• up to £1500 that must be match-funded by your School/Research Centre, to identified REF impact case study leads seeking to increase their dissemination and impact generation activities for the remainder of the current REF cycle.

Applications should be aligned to one or more of the following themes:

  • Strengthening interaction – seeking to nurture and build upon relationships with non-academic partners, aligning with strategic goal of the University – the Industry Collaboration Zones
  • Broadening research – in line with REF and funder requirements, to expand the reach and influence of research outcomes, in addition to introducing greater partner contribution into the design of future research
  • Promoting social benefit – demonstrating how the application of research-based knowledge might lead to practical and focused solutions at a range of scales

Suggested Activities                                                                                                 

The following list is not exhaustive:

  • The translation of research findings for non-academic audiences (e.g. policy reports, leaflets, audio-visual materials, etc.)                                 
  • Events or workshops with a focus on non-academic stakeholders (dissemination or activity-based)
  • The trialling of creative modes of public engagement (e.g. exhibitions or film screenings)
  • The commercialisation of research findings through IP protection and/or business engagement
  • The formation or strengthening of networks outside academia (e.g. visits/meetings to build relationships, or the initial development of a web/social media platform)
  • Exchange or placement activities (e.g. within an external non-HEI organisations, or through the placement of a non-HEI partner within the University)
  • The development of pedagogical materials (e.g. online training resources or ‘train the trainer’ sessions)

The 2018/19 Fund is currently open for a special call for new applications, with a deadline of Friday, 1st March 2019.

Further details and the application form can be found on the Impact Funding page at www.salford.ac.uk/ref

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


2019 preparations and ‘REF readiness’

With Christmas fast approaching, here in the REF team we are already turning our attention to 2019 and considering how our REF readiness activities will start to take shape. In terms of our preparations around impact, the new year will herald a raft of targeted activities to help ensure that our case study submission in 2020 is the strongest it can possibly be.

Key deadlines

A few key dates in 2019 for our impact case study leads to bear in mind are as follows:

  • 28 February 2019 – Submission of revised impact case study drafts (using new REF2021 template)
  • February/March 2019 – Impact Action Plan mid-point review meetings
  • March 2019 – Recording of short impact videos (via Marketing & External Relations)
  • 8 April 2019 – Chris Simms informal peer review workshop
  • April 2019 – Planned formal internal peer review of impact case studies
  • June 2019 – Planned formal external peer review of impact case studies

The above dates are complemented by the University’s ‘SECRET’ researcher development programme, which is designed to ensure that our researchers are ‘REF ready’. Further details can be found through our Salford Advantage pages at: https://www.salford.ac.uk/staff-development

The programme includes our monthly one-to-one storytelling mentoring sessions with Chris Simms (bookings through research-impact@salford.ac.uk), impact writing retreats, bidding and funding information sessions, REF briefings and much more.

Alternatively, training of interest is also listed on our Training Calendar, which can be found at: www.salford.ac.uk/ref

 


Impact Guidance for REF2021

The initial set of guidance materials for REF2021 (including guidance on submissions and panel guidelines) was published in July 2018 and consultation with the sector was concluded on 15th October 2018.

The final guidance is due to be published in January 2019, after which time the University will hold a series of briefing meetings through our appointed Unit of Assessment Leads to update colleagues on the key details.

In the meantime, the salient points to take from the latest REF consultation documents on impact case study submission is as follows:

 

Definition of impact for the REF

For the purposes of the REF, impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.

Impact includes, but is not limited to, an effect on, change or benefit to:

  • the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding
  • of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals
  • in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally

Impact also includes the reduction or prevention of harm, risk, cost or other negative effects.

Impacts will be assessed in terms of their ‘reach and significance’ regardless of the geographic location in which they occurred, whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

**Further guidance about how panels will assess the case studies against the criteria of reach and significance is found separately at www.salford.ac.uk/ref under Impact Evidence Collection.**

 

Submission requirements

  • Each submission must include impact case studies (REF3 template) describing specific impacts that have occurred during the assessment period (1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020) that were underpinned by excellent research undertaken in the submitted unit. The impacts may have been at any stage of development or maturity during this period, so long as some effect, change or benefit meeting the definition of impact took place during that period.

 

  • This may include, for example, impacts at an early stage, or impacts that may have started prior to 1 August 2013 but continued into the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020. Case studies will be assessed in terms of the reach and significance of the impact that occurred only during the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020, and not in terms of any impact prior to this period or potential future or anticipated impact after this period.

 

  • The underpinning research must have been produced by the submitting HEI during the period 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2020. Underpinning research may be a body of work produced over a number of years or may be the output(s) of a particular project. It may be produced by one or more individuals.

 

  • When writing case studies, submitting units should refer to the guidelines for presenting quantitative data set out in the ‘Guidelines for standardising quantitative indicators of impact within REF case studies’. These guidelines have been developed to enable more consistent presentation of quantitative evidence in case studies. This document (and a summary thereof) can be found separately at www.salford.ac.uk/ref under Impact Evidence Collection.

 

  • More than one submitted unit (within the same HEI or in different HEIs) may include the same impact within their respective case studies, so long as each submitted unit produced excellent research that made a distinct and material contribution to the impact.

 

  • Impact case studies continued from examples submitted in 2014 will be eligible for submission in REF 2021 as long as they meet the 2021 eligibility criteria.

 

 

Go to www.salford.ac.uk/ref to check out all the latest REF guidance.

 

 

 


ESRC Festival of Social Science – November 2018

The University of Salford, alongside partner institutions Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, are running over 30 events across Manchester and Salford as part of this year’s ESRC Festival of Social Science, 3-10 November 2018.

The Festival showcases Manchester social science research to a broad non-academic audience. This brings together an eclectic blend of activities designed to celebrate the social sciences, including discussions and debates, exhibitions, film screenings, walkabouts, family fun days, schools visits, workshops, and lots more.

Aims of the Festival

Through its Festival of Social Science, the ESRC aims to:

  • Encourage, support and create the opportunity for social science researchers to engage with non-academic audiences
  • Promote and increase awareness of the social sciences and ESRC’s research
  • Promote and increase awareness of the contributions the social sciences make to the wellbeing and the economy of the UK society
  • Enable the public to engage with social science research
  • Engage with teachers and young people and to raise their awareness of the social sciences.

 

Contributions from our researchers in the School of Health & Society:

/ Catherine Thompson & Bruno Fazenda

Using VR nature environments to improve performance and wellbeing

Saturday 3rd November 10am – 5pm / Manchester Museum

 

/ Philip Brown, Lisa Scullion & Tim Isherwood

The power of design: exploring the role of creative research dissemination

Monday 5th November 5pm – 8pm / New Adelphi Building, University of Salford campus

 

/ Jack Wilson, Anthea Innes, Andrew Clark & Anya Ahmed

University of Salford dementia and ageing hub showcase

Tuesday 6th November 2.30pm – 4.30pm / G05 The Old Fire Station, University of Salford campus

 

/ Cathy Ure, Penny Cook, Liz Burns, Margaret Coffey & Suzy Hargreaves

Putting communities in charge of alcohol: a health champion model

Tuesday 6th November Time 5.30pm – 7.00pm / The Friends Meeting House, Manchester

 

/ Donna Peach, Gabi Hesk, Deanna Edwards & Andrea Pepe

Developing community engagement with the social sciences

Wednesday 7th November 12pm-8pm / Atrium, Adelphi Building, University of Salford campus

 

/ Tina Patel & Laura Connelly

Divided communities? What the Brexit future means for people in Salford

Thursday 8th November 1pm – 3pm / G05, The Old Fire Station, University of Salford campus

 

/ Michaela Rogers

Ageing with healthy relationships: overcoming barriers to help-seeking when experiencing domestic abuse

Friday 9th November 2018 – INVITE ONLY / The Pankhurst Centre, Manchester

 

/ Ian Cummins & Toni Wood

True crime and punishment: exploring the influence of cultural representations of crime

Saturday 10th November 10am – 3.30pm / MediaCity UK

 

/ Dilla Davis & Annie Nichols with Manchester Malayalee Cultural Association (MMCA)

After a heart attack – role of cardiac rehabilitation

Saturday 10th November, 2pm – 4pm / Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Center

 

 

Why not come along and join in the activities?

Full details of all events across the week are available at:  www.esrcmanchesterfest.ac.uk.

Tweet your comments using the hashtags #esrcfestival and #McrESRCfest


Impact Case Study Action Plans

As part of the REF readiness exercise in preparation for our REF submission in 2020, the Impact, Engagement and Environment Coordinator, in conjunction with the School Impact Coordinators, is holding a series of ‘Impact Case Study Action Plan’ meetings with identified case study leads.

Initial meetings have already started to take place and will continue throughout September and October. These will be followed up by mid-point review and year-end review meetings.

The aim of these meetings is to set a number of SMART objectives to guide our case study leads through the development of their case studies across the next two years in preparation for the final REF submission.

 

 

Key areas of focus include:

  • Creation of an ‘impact’ folder within Figshare in order to deposit all impact evidence collected to date and to maintain on an ongoing basis
  • Identification of research outputs to be included as ‘underpinning research’ for the impacts claimed in the case study
  • Completion of a stakeholder analysis to identify who has benefitted so far from the research, who to contact for testimonials, who to target to generate future impact and so on
  • Redrafting of impact case study information to date to reflect development of objectives and to shape the final submission

 

Further details on what constitutes an impact and how to measure ‘reach and significance’ of the impact have been released by REF in their draft panel guidance.

These details can be found here: https://www.ref.ac.uk/publications/

This list is not exhaustive, but provides a useful overview of the many different ways that research can generate an impact of some kind. Some food for thought!

 

Peer review of impact case studies

It is anticipated that both formal and informal internal peer reviews of impact case studies will be held in late 2018/early 2019, with another external peer review planned for Summer 2019.

Development of impact case studies through adherence to the ‘Impact Case Study Action Plan’ should help our case study leads to submit further drafts of their impact case studies for peer review to enable meaningful feedback to be provided and fed into future iterations of the action plan.

 

Why not take this opportunity to check out this and other impact resources available on the REF staff intranet: https://www.salford.ac.uk/ref


Impact Case Study Examples

The University of Salford’s REF intranet site (www.salford.ac.uk/ref) has recently been updated to include some of the annotated case study drafts from the recent external peer review exercise.

The insightful comments from the peer reviewers will be used to help shape further case study drafts and also to help inform the forthcoming internal peer review process.

Examples can be found under the Impact section: External Peer Review

 

Some general points noted by the external peer reviewers include:

  • A number of case studies don’t distinguish between research and resulting impact, instead flagging impacts that appear to be benefits to the academy rather than societal impacts, so some further advice on that distinction might be useful
  • Some cases focus on dissemination at the expense of resulting impacts, again further advice and clarification might help
  • Some do not convincingly demonstrate robustness of underpinning research or links between the research and claimed impacts, some of this may be limitations in the research, some could be developed further
  • Most could improve the clarity with which impacts are articulated, and their apparent significance and reach (true of most cases, from a variety of institutions, at this stage)
  • Most need to supplement the current corroboration with more in depth, specific or appropriate evidence
  • It is very likely that submission of names and positions of staff, and dates of employment at the institution will be mandatory, so do that now, especially to show clarity around eligibility
  • All evidence will need to be submitted with the case studies so ensure it is in an accessible and appropriate format.  Where web pages are used, ensure you have preserved them and don’t just use standard links.

 

Further information on what makes a top impact case study can be found at the following external site, for example:

What makes a 4* Impact Case Study:

Fast Track Impact What Makes a 4 Star Impact Case Study.pdf

What made a 4* Impact Case Study in REF2014:

https://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2018/06/04/What-made-a-4-impact-case-study-in-REF2014

 

A section on how to identify 4* impact case studies on the REF2014 website and to look at lessons learned from REF2014 can also be found at:

https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/REF2014%20and%20Impact.aspx

 

Why not take this opportunity to check out this and other impact resources available on the REF staff intranet: https://www.salford.ac.uk/ref


Impact at the Festival of Research

Salford is holding its inaugural Festival of Research this year between 25th June and 20th July 2018 across the campus.

The aim of the Festival is to showcase and celebrate Salford’s diverse research and its impact to a wider audience and will encourage both researchers and the general public to become involved.

In the week of 2nd-6th July there will be a concentration of physical events and conferences taking place, including the Salford Postgraduate Annual Researcher Conference (SPARC), which is a two-day PGR-focused showcase event.

Running alongside the Festival will be ‘Storytelling at Salford’: this is a larger project which forms part of the research training strategy and which is also linked to the University’s new research strategy. It involves the Salford Research community (PGRs, Academics and Leaders) recording short videos about what they do at Salford. The first 20 videos will be showcased as part of the festival and during the festival we will encourage more to participate and create videos themselves.

 

 

Targeted Impact Events

As part of the Festival we will be running a number of specifically impact-related events to help inspire our researchers to think more closely about the impact of their research and how they can best improve its significance and reach in the future.

 

Highlights include:

Wednesday, 27 June 2018: Fast Track Impact case study writing workshop with Prof Mark Reed

Mark will focus specifically on the REF and what makes a good impact case study, how to improve your writing around impact, as well as evidence collection tips. This workshop will also include detailed external peer review of 4 draft impact case studies, with recommendations of how these can be enhanced and improved.

To book: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/597642/staff-development-fast-track-t

 

Thursday, 28 June 2018: Developing Your Narrative Sessions with Chris Simms, Royal Literary Fund

Chris is holding individual 40-minute mentoring sessions for researchers looking to develop their narrative and storywriting skills, whether it be for the purpose of formulating impact case studies, writing funding bids, making applications for research festivals or similar.

All enquiries: research-impact@salford.ac.uk

 

Tuesday, 3 July 2018: Impact Case Study Writing Retreat (MCUK)

Space will be made available to each School to spend dedicated time working on existing or potential impact case study drafts. Impact Coordinators will be on hand to provide advice and guidance and researchers will be able to access resources from the REF intranet site and use the Figshare data repository to gather impact evidence.

To book:

AM: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/604998/festival-of-research-impact-ca

PM: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/605001/festival-of-research-impact-ca

 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018: Developing Your Narrative Sessions with Chris Simms, Royal Literary Fund

Chris is holding individual 40-minute mentoring sessions for researchers looking to develop their narrative and storywriting skills, whether it be for the purpose of formulating impact case studies, writing funding bids, making applications for research festivals or similar.

All enquiries: research-impact@salford.ac.uk

 

Why not take this opportunity to check out the Festival of Research website to find events of interest to you: https://www.salford.ac.uk/researchfest

Join the conversation:

#salfordresearchfest         @Festivalofrese1

 


Peer Review of Impact Case Studies

According to Fast Track Impact’s calculations (see: http://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2017/02/01/How-much-was-an-impact-case-study-worth-in-the-UK-Research-Excellence-Framework for further details), the best impact submissions to REF2014, i.e. those achieving a 4* star narrative case study, had a currency exchange of some £324,000 (£46,300 per year between 2015/16-2021/22). By contrast, a 4* research output was typically valued at between £5,000-£25,000. Generally speaking, impact case studies are thought to be worth around 5 times more than outputs at higher full-time equivalents (FTEs).

As such, the huge potential value this may bring to institutions cannot be underestimated, particularly given the increased weighting of impact from 20% to 25% for the next REF exercise in 2021. Consequently, institutions employ a number of strategies and resources to ensure the best possible outcomes of their REF impact submissions. For example, there are reports of significant sums being spent by some universities in the REF2014 exercise on copy editors or science writers in order to create compelling narratives that would stand up to the scrutiny of the REF panel members.

A robust internal and external peer review process is one means of tracking progress over time in order to enhance and improve narratives and impact evidence ahead of the final REF submission in 2020.

 

Upcoming peer review events

The University of Salford is undertaking its first external peer review of draft impact case studies this Summer as part of its REF Readiness exercise. This will give the University a snapshot of where things stand and where improvements still need to made in the 2 years leading up to the REF submission. The feedback from the external peer review will inform the planned internal peer review due to take place in early 2019.

 

Dates for the diary include:

Monday, 18 June 2018 – Friday, 29 June 2018: External peer review of 10 x impact case studies across UoAs      This will include review and annotation of draft case studies, an overview report, notes on potential grades and advice on how to enhance impact.

Monday, 25 June 2018 – Friday, 20 July 2018: University of Salford Festival of Research       A month-long programme of events celebrating and promoting the University’s valuable research. This will include a REF-focused impact case study writing workshop, an impact ‘writing retreat’ and one-to-one mentoring on impact narratives.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018: Fast Track Impact case study writing workshop with Prof Mark Reed           Mark will focus specifically on the REF and what makes a good impact case study, how to improve your writing around impact, as well as evidence collection tips. This workshop will also include detailed external peer review of 4 draft impact case studies, with recommendations of how these can be enhanced and improved.

 

To book: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/597642/staff-development-fast-track-t

 

Why not take this opportunity to look at the upcoming peer review meetings and events information on our REF Intranet site at: https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Training.aspx


Impact Training and Events

As the REF draws ever closer, thoughts are now turning to impact and how to ensure that the University’s research is demonstrating impact beyond academia and making a real difference in the wider world. This raises a number of questions about what constitutes impact and impact evidence, where this should be stored, when it should be collected and how it can be enhanced.

In order to help researchers to gain a better understanding of research impact and what it means to them, a training programme designed specifically around impact is being rolled out across the University in the coming months.

 

Upcoming internal training and events

Future training will be tailored to meet individual needs in terms of impact. For example, you might be looking for a taster session to learn what research impact is all about, or maybe you are an early career researcher bidding for funding for the first time. Perhaps you are a mid-career or senior researcher who needs some advice on collection of impact evidence. Whatever your requirements, there is something to suit every level and discipline.

 

Events of note include:

 

Monday, 16 April 2018: Impact writing workshop with Chris Simms

Chris from the Royal Literary Fund will be visiting the University again to hold a sessions around writing for impact, creating a narrative and telling a story.

To book: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/597635/staff-development-new-to-impac

 

Thursday, 3 May 2018: Fast Track Impact workshop with Prof Mark Reed

Mark returns for the first of two workshops, this one focusing on generating and evaluating impact, as well as how to maximise your social media presence for enhanced impact.

To book: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/597641/staff-development-fast-track-t

 

Monday, 25 June 2018 – Friday, 20 July 2018: University of Salford Festival of Research

A month-long programme of events celebrating and promoting the University’s valuable research. This will include the popular PGR event ‘SPARC’ (Salford Postgraduate Annual Research Conference) on 4 + 5 July 2018, as well as an impact ‘writing retreat’ on 3 July 2018 for budding impact case study writers

 

Wednesday, 27 June 2018: Fast Track Impact case study writing workshop with Prof Mark Reed

Mark will focus specifically on the REF and what makes a good impact case study, how to improve your writing around impact, as well as evidence collection tips.

To book: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/597642/staff-development-fast-track-t

 

From September 2018 a suite of workshops specifically around impact will be embedded into the staff development programme (SECRET) – further information will be available shortly.

Why not take this opportunity to look at the upcoming training, meetings and events information on our REF Intranet site at: https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Training.aspx

 

External training

Alternatively, why not sign up for the free 5-week impact online training course run by Fast Track Impact?

Each session comprises 6-minute video and a short reading. After each session, you will be given tasks to complete within your own research before the next session:

  • Introduction: Five ways to fast track your impact
  • Week 1: Envision your impact
  • Week 2: Plan for impact
  • Week 3: Cut back anything hindering or distracting you from your impact 
  • Week 4: Get specific about the impacts you will seek and the people who can help you achieve impact this month
  • Week 5: Achieve your first step towards impact and monitor your success

 

Further details can be found here: http://www.fasttrackimpact.com/for-researchers