Posts tagged: impact

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

 


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/

 

 


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.


We need to talk about research impact (again)

imapct

REF

Original post 

University of Salford’s Impact Coordinator – Chris Hewson discusses why we need to talk about research impact:

Over the last eighteen months, much has been written and said about impact, and how Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can effectively, and efficiently, place themselves on a secure footing in preparation for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF). Nonetheless, it could be argued that the fevered animation generated by REF2014 has led to a prolonged and ongoing hangover. For most academics and administrators the experience of co-producing impact case studies was a forensic and thought-provoking, albeit ‘seat of the pants’ and largely extemporised experience. The refrain consistently repeated in strategy offices across the land goes something like this: ‘…there is absolutely no chance we’re going to execute our REF impact strategy in such an unsystematic and post-hoc fashion come 2020.’

But we are, aren’t we? As Julie Bayley and Casper Hitchens note, “the burden of effort and pressure to ‘find impact’ led to impact fatigue and a tarnished view of the concept” [i]. Their remedies are sound, and were arrived at independently by a number HEIs of in the aftermath of 18th December 2014; the need for greater planning and (ongoing) data collection, the institutional normalisation of impact, the co-ordination of both internal and external engagement processes, and so forth. The authors playfully mimic the language of HEFCE, noting the dawning of “an opportunity to significantly and demonstrably… change how we achieve impact.

Read more…..


“Microbial Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems” meeting 22nd/23rd June

A “Microbial Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems” meeting will be taking place on the 22nd and 23rd June at Media City UK. micro

The first day will consist of a number of talks that cover the diverse ways that microbes influence the ecology of organisms and ecosystems. During the second day there will be a  “Horizon Scanning Workshop” – the aim of which is to identify the next big questions in microbial ecology (similar to previous events run by Prof. Bill Sutherland). This is a really valuable exercise with high potential for impact, and all participants will be listed as co-authors on the resulting peer-reviewed publication.

More information on the event is available here: http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/getting-involved/special-interest-groups/microbial-ecology/

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