Posts tagged: Impact Case Study

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


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