Posts tagged: research

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


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

 


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.


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.


Engineering industry event – JMEE: Enhancing the Participation of Industry in Research Projects in Telecommunications and Energy Sectors

Attendees at JMEE Engineering EventEarlier in April Professor Haifa Takruri MBE, Director of the JMEE (Joint MsC Electrical Engineering) programme, organised a special industry event which presented the project’s progress to date. The workshop entitled ‘JMEE: Enhancing the Participation of Industry in Research Projects in Telecommunications and Energy Sectors’ covered the processes involved in developing the JMEE programme, as well as knowledge sharing, academia-industry collaboration and EU and Palestine cultural exchange.

A fantastic example of industry collaboration in action, the event was attended by a number of high-profile engineering partners. Mr Nigel Platt, System Engineering Manager at Siemens Energy, presented about AC and HVDC interconnections for offshore wind farms, from the platform installation to the energy transfer to land. Nigel answered audience questions about wind farm designs, voltage transfer and average output yield on the farms.

Professor Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architecture at BT and a visiting Professor in CSE, presented state-of-the-art research and standards development in 5G telecommunications technology, demonstrating how future IMT technology development is shaping the strategies for 2020 and beyond.

Dr Sam Grogan, Pro-Vice Chancellor Students Experience, brought the discussion back to student experience by speaking about the work the University is doing both locally and internationally in developing the entrepreneurial skills of students.

The talks were followed by an intense and technical discussion showing the vast experience and understanding of the sector by the speakers and participants. After lunch the JMEE team visited Siemens Ardwick railway maintenance facilities. Delegates got to see the new electric train and diesel train maintenance methodology. The group gained an understanding into the capacity and operation required to ensure commuter services are sustained in the Manchester region.

Haifa, who recently received an outstanding achievement award for her work in engineering, said: “It was a great pleasure to host the JMEE workshop at our Media City campus. I am grateful to the speakers for sharing their industrial knowledge and experience with the consortium and for EU TEMPUS for funding the JMEE project.”


Publishing in Scholarly Journals

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

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

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

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

Read more…..


UPRISE, ELS and SHUSU Exploring Local & Regional Approaches to Ecology & Flooding

Irwell Flooding

Photo of a flooded Irwell by Dr Luke Blazejewski

Researchers from UPRISE are collaborating with colleagues from the School of Environment and Life Sciences, Research and Innovation and SHUSU (Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit) on a HEIF-funded project to explore local and regional approaches to ecology and flooding.  This project will involve engaging with organisations, agencies and communities in the Salford and wider Manchester region to understand how ecological principles can be applied to the issues surrounding floods, and the wider functioning of a city.  This diverse partnership draws from a pool of expertise, and demonstrates precisely the interdisciplinary approach required to look at 21st century urban issues – keeping in spirit with the ICZ strategy of the University of Salford.

Led by the Dean of School, Prof. Hisham Elkadi, the project will run until the end of July.  By strengthening partnerships with UPRISE across the university and beyond, this important area of study will provide a basis for a larger and longer term body of work which will evolve our thinking on cities and how they function, Dean of School, Prof. Hisham Elkadi says “Climate change results in more severe and more frequent adversial weather conditions.  Flood-control infrastructures in our contemporary cities are not reliable mitigation defenses in the face of climate change uncertainties. The aim of the project is to build-in ecological resilience measures to mitigate against flooding”

A series of workshops and interviews are being organised by UPRISE as part of the project.  UPRISE Research Fellow, Dr. Nick Davies, described the co-creation approach of the project: ‘The workshops will provide a platform for organisations involved in various sectors concerned with flood resilience to interact, and be involved in designing and sharpening the key research focus of this project.’


New easy-to-use Ethics website launches

Ethics website front pageThe Research Centres Support Team in the Research & Enterprise Division are pleased to announced the launch of the new University Ethics Website.

Over the last few months, the team have been working to develop a new, centralised website and to update all the application forms, so that the whole process of getting ethics approval is much more user-friendly.

Designed with feedback from Ethics Panel members and Professional Services and Academic colleagues across the University, the new University Ethics website provides an easy-to-use single source for all Ethics-related forms, processes and procedures.

On the new site you will be able to find:

  • Application Forms for Staff, Postgraduate Research and Taught Students
  • Guidance on applying for ethics approval
  • Codes of Ethics for all research disciplines
  • FAQs
  • Contact details for the Ethics Research Centres staff and Panel Chairs

Links from all the Research Centre websites have been updated to redirect to the new website, making the transition a seamless process.

To share your thoughts and let us have any suggestions to make the site even better, contact Nathalie Audren Howarth in the Research Centres Support Team on ext. 55278