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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


Collecting Testimonial Evidence of Impact

One way of effectively demonstrating the impact that your research has had on your stakeholders is to collect testimonial evidence. This generally takes the form of a letter from a collaborator on headed paper, although e-mails are also acceptable.

It can sometimes feel awkward to ask collaborators to write corroborating statements of this kind and this is why researchers often leave it to the last minute to request this information. Don’t make this mistake: if you leave it too late you may find that the main contact for your research has left the institution, may have retired or even passed away. You should therefore capture all evidence from your stakeholders as soon as you can.

Most importantly, don’t forget to look into whether or not you need informed consent and ethical approval before obtaining any testimonials.

 

 

Requesting letters of support

When it comes to requesting supporting letters, the level of detail is in part dictated by what the organisation is willing to provide. However, the following suggestions may help you in deciding what would make a strong testimonial in support of your research impact:

  1. Clearly outline who the letter is from, their role in the organisation and connection to the project in question
  2. State the researcher(s) and University(ies) involved and why they were chosen to be part of the project (e.g. research profile/quality; previous collaborations; expertise in the field etc.)
  3. Describe the project/activities undertaken and importance of the research to the stakeholder organisation (how it has enhanced their business/portfolio)
  4. Describe the benefits to the organisation and/or members, through qualitative and/or quantitative means          (NB: for impact evidence some form of quantitative data will help make a stronger case if available, e.g. audience reach etc.)
  5. Indicate if the organisation is proposing any ongoing partnerships/future collaborations

 

Other guidance

External organisations, such as Fast Track Impact (in the UK) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, provide useful information on how to collect testimonials and what could be included.

Why not check out the following:

Fast Track Impact:

http://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2018/02/23/Getting-testimonials-to-corroborate-the-impact-of-your-research

Canadian Institutes of Health Research:

http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45246.html

 

 

Remember: start collecting your impact testimonials as your research develops and don’t forget to store them in our Figshare data repository at  https://salford.figshare.com/

 

 


European Congress of Radiology (ECR) 2018

ECR was held in Vienna, Austria from 28th February until 4th March inclusive; each day it runs from 8.00am until 7pm. It attracted around 25,000 participants, making it the second largest radiology conference in the world. It is of interest to physicists, radiographers, radiologists and a wide range of other health care professionals, including industry. As always the Directorate of Radiography at the University of Salford had a large presence, with contributions from BSc, MSc and PhD students as well as staff. The Directorate of Radiography first or co-authored 28 scientific posters and oral papers with friends and colleagues from U.K., Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, Portugal, South Africa, Brazil, Netherlands, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Greece. They also launched their OPTIMAX 2017 book (http://usir.salford.ac.uk/46104/7/OPTIMAX%202017%20ed.pdf, Figure 1). All lectures can be seen online free of charge (http://ecronline.myesr.org/ecr2018/).

This year two 2nd year BSc Diagnostic Radiography students (Lucinda Gray and Shaun Dorey, Figure 2) presented extracurricular research into smart glasses as a poster and also as an oral presentation. The work was developed with Consultant Radiologist Dr Shofiq Al-Islam (Royal Blackburn Hospital), Helen Baxter (Tameside Hospital) and staff from the Directorate of Radiography at Salford. Figures 3 and 4 show Andrew England and Leslie Robinson, from the Directorate of Radiography, presenting their papers at ECR.

Figure 1: OPTIMAX book launch

(Editors left to right: Annemieke Heij-Meijer; Carst Buissink (Netherlands) and Peter Hogg (Radiography/Salford)

 

Figure 2: Lucinda and Shaun presenting their work at ECR

Figure 3 Andrew England, Radiography/Salford, presenting a paper at ECR

Figure 4 Leslie Robinson, Radiography/Salford, presenting a paper at ECR


Radiation dose, image quality optimisation, the use of new technology in medical imaging (ISBN: 978-1-912337-09-5)

OPTIMAX, a multinational summer school for BSc, MSc and PhD radiography and physics students, had its 5th rendition in Oslo throughout August in 2017. It represents the only multinational and multiprofessional summer school of its kind in the world and it seeks to give participants a research informed teaching experience related to radiation dose optimisation in medical imaging. Outputs from each summer school include journal and conference papers and also a book.

Following on from the Oslo summer school a new open source (free) book has been published (http://usir.salford.ac.uk/46104/7/OPTIMAX%202017%20ed.pdf). The editors include Dr Annemiek Meije and Carst Buissink from the Netherlands and Professor Peter Hogg from the University of Salford. The book comprises ten chapters, four of which are empirical research papers conducted during the summer school. The remaining six chapters provide background information related to the optimisation of radiation dose and medical image quality. Chapter authors include all the students and tutors who participated in OPTIMAX 2017 and this year participants emanated from 8 countries.

Book Title and Photo of a Radiographer


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!

 

 


Researchers win £1.4m bid to improve prosthetics in Uganda and Jordan

UNIVERSITY of Salford researchers have won a £1.4m grant to look into ways of providing better upper limb prostheses for people in lower and middle income countries.

The project will enable researchers at the University – one of only two in the UK that teach prosthetics and orthotics – to develop better, low cost prostheses.

The funding has come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) who are committing £16m to a range of projects through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5b government fund to support cutting-edge technology that addresses challenges faced by low and middle income countries.

The team will be partnering with Makere University in Uganda and the University of Jordan, as well as University College London (UCL), and the Universities of Southampton and Greenwich.

New ways of making prosthetic limbs 

Engineering and clinical researchers across the three countries will collaborate to develop new designs, as well as novel ways of creating, fitting and evaluating how well the prosthetic limbs work, enabling more people to benefit from them.

Earlier this year, a team of prosthetics students from the University were able to create prosthetic upper limbs for a Ugandan woman who had suffered a horrific machete attack. The students built the prosthetic limbs in the University’s own Brian Blatchford lab before they were sent to Uganda to be fitted.

In many poorer countries, there is a huge demand for prosthetic limbs, because of problems with conflict or road traffic accidents, but there are very few hospitals and medical centres able to provide this specialist work, and few clinicians able to help patients maintain the limbs once fitted.

Researchers at the University believe simple ‘body powered prostheses’, which work by using cables to link the movement of the body with the artificial limb, could be the answer as they are easy to manufacture and maintain.

Researchers hope to address problems

Amputees in Africa and the Middle East often have very poor access to prosthetic services and the devices they are offered are often not fit for purpose, being expensive, providing limited function and being uncomfortable to use.  Researchers working on the project now hope to address these problems.

The two countries were chosen because of the unique challenges they face. While Uganda is one of the least developed countries in the world, with poorly resourced and fragmented rehabilitation services, Jordan is classed as an ‘upper middle income country’ with well-trained clinicians, but facing huge pressure on its prosthetic services partly because of regional conflicts.

The University of Salford is also now collaborating in two other projects in the area of prosthetics, also funded through the Global Challenges Fund of EPSRC – one led by the University of Southampton and another led by Imperial College London.

Life changing experience

Losing an arm is always a horrific and life changing experience, but in many lower or middle income countries it can have a truly devastating effect. It can deprive people already existing at a subsistence level of any ability to support themselves or their families.

Professor Laurence Kenney, research co-lead for Rehabilitation Technologies and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Salford, said: “Losing an arm is always a horrific and life changing experience, but in many lower or middle income countries it can have a truly devastating effect. It can deprive people already existing at a subsistence level of any ability to support themselves or their families.

“Sadly, it is these countries where there is a greater need for prostheses, but for a whole host of reasons it is incredibly difficult for anyone who needs an artificial limb to be able to get one.

“This much-needed research project will enable us to bring together an experienced team in the UK, Uganda and Jordan who can create better prostheses, designed for use in lower and middle income countries across the world, which I hope will have a long term impact on millions of people.”

President of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour

Figure caption: Rick Troiano (Program Director at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda) and Malcolm Granat co-chairs of the International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring and Physical Activity Measurement (Bethesda, June 2017). At this meeting Malcolm was elected President of International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour.

President of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour

Professor Malcolm Granat has recently been elected as President of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour (www.ismpb.org).   The ISMPB is a non-profit scientific society that aims to promote and facilitate the study and applications of objective measurement and quantification of free-living physical behaviour(s) and its related constructs (e.g. energy expenditure, context) using wearable devices.  Alongside organising  the biennial International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring and Physical Activity Measurement (ICAMPAM), the Society aims to bring together people from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise, including researchers, clinicians, therapists, signal analysts, computational scientists and commercial companies.

Seeing a rapid growth of research activity in this field, Malcolm Granat together with Professors David Bassett (University of Tenessee, USA), Hans Bussmann (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and Patty Freedson (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA), formed the Society in 2016.  Malcolm was also co-chair of the most recent and highly successful ICAMPAM in the USA (Bethesda, June 2017).  The latest initiative of the Society has been the launch of the Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour, which publishes high quality research papers that employ and/or apply sensor-based measures of physical activity, movement disorders, sedentary behaviour and sleep (https://journals.humankinetics.com/page/about/jmpb).

Malcolm believes that his position within the ISMPB will lead to opportunities for University of Salford staff to collaborate with leading international research groups in this fast-expanding field.   An example of this is the joint project of the Universities of Salford and Leicester funded by the National Institute of Health Research – a three arm cluster randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the SMArT Work & Life intervention for reducing daily sitting time in office workers. 

At the University, Malcolm leads the Physical Behaviour Monitoring research theme within the Health Sciences Research Centre and the Technology theme within the Institute for Dementia.


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

 


Professor Peter Hogg is honoured with a Visiting Professorship at Hanze University, Groningen

The photograph is of Professor Paul van Wijk (left), Pro Vice Chancellor at Hanze University and Peter. It was taken as part of the professorial inauguration ceremony.

Professor Peter Hogg has recently been honoured with a Visiting Professorship at Hanze University, Groningen, Netherlands. The purpose of the Visiting Professorship is to develop a research and teaching relationship between Hanze University and the University of Salford with a particular emphasis on radiography.

Over the next few years Peter will initiate discussions which should lead to honorary appointments for staff, teaching and student exchanges and also joint research. Peter believes the relationship will add value to our teaching and research portfolios at the University of Salford. The directorates of radiography in Hanze and Salford have been working together for over 6 years and so far they have co-authored over 30 conference/journal papers and published 3 books. They have a common research interest of radiation dose optimisation in medical imaging and Hanze has a major research emphasis on healthy aging, similar to the University of Salford.

At the University of Salford Peter is our Professor of Radiography. He is also Associate Dean Research in the School of Health Sciences and he leads the Diagnostic Imaging Research Programme within the Health Sciences Research Centre.


RCOT MERIT AWARD FOR RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE

 

Dr Yeliz Prior, the Deputy Director of the Postgraduate Research Studies at the School of Health Sciences was presented with the Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT) Merit award this autumn, which is given to occupational therapists, recognised by their peers for excellence in their sphere of work, and are making an aspirational contribution to the occupational therapy profession.

Yeliz is an excellent ambassador of occupational therapy (OT), having represented the profession on national and international platforms through her roles in the British Health Professionals in Rheumatology (BHPR) Council as the Education Officer, European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scientific Committee and the Greater Manchester Allied Health Professionals in Research Network (GMAHPRN) in the North West of England.

She has also served as a Research and Development Officer at the COT Specialist Section for Rheumatology previously. Yeliz has produced a number of peer-reviewed research articles in the field of rheumatology rehabilitation, delivered invited talks at prestigious international conferences and policy meetings in the UK, and published a book chapter on work rehabilitation in the 7th edition of the ‘Occupational Therapy for people Experiencing Illness, Injury or Impairment.

Yeliz is currently supervising a number of PhD students, and actively promotes rheumatology as a specialism to the OT students both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition to her full-time academic and research career, she also works as an Advanced Clinical Special OT in rheumatology (0.2fte) at the Mid Cheshire NHS Trust.  Here she bridges research with clinical practice, and leads evidence-based practice to promote self-management of rheumatic conditions, and the use of evidence-based interventions.

Julia Scott, the CEO of the RCOT said: “Some of our award winners are recognised for doing an exceptional job; it sounds so simple put like that, but do we all deliver excellence every day? Probably not, but those four people in the room who have received Merit awards, have been recognised by their peers for doing just this.

More information about the RCOT Merit Awards are available on: https://www.rcot.co.uk/news-and-events/awards-and-funding/merit-and-fellowship-awards