|Managing Research Uptake for Impact|
|Friday, 29 August 2014 14:41|
DRUSSA Universities are currently developing their institutional research uptake strategies and these strategies outline their own “pathways to impact”. You will be able to read more in the coming months about these research uptake strategies here on the DRUSSA blog.
Research funders are increasingly focussing on research impact (the ESRC and DFID are just two examples). And they are not just talking about academic impact but social and economic impact as well. Indeed some funders make it an ethical and contractual obligation for researchers to share the results of their research not only with their peers, but also with beneficiaries and policy-makers. This requires planning and implementation of a communication and dissemination strategy for each project, and for management of RU at the institutional level, hence the importance of ‘Research Uptake Management’ (RUM) to optimise the impact of the research.
Research Use strategies are key for impact
Universities have embraced RUM as a way to improve impact. For example Makerere University:
What is impact
There are many definitions of impact but they cover common ground. The Research Councils of the UK define impact as 'the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy' and have designed the following diagram to show the various pathways to impact that are possible:
(See the diagram on the Research Councils UK website)
As can be seen from the diagram impact can be on any number of audiences – communities, practitioners, policy makers, businesses or industry. And there are different kinds of impact. The ESRC separates them into the following three categories:
The ESRC notes also that there are different types of impact:
Measuring impact is a tricky business. Well known in the field of research impact is Sandra Nutley who notes that you can take a forward tracking (from research to use) or a tracking back (from policy or behaviour change back to research) approach. She also identifies two common methods used to assess the impact of research:
You also need to consider when you are going to assess impact, what tools you will use (qualitative or quantitative methods) and so on. Whichever way you choose to measure impact you need to build the impact measure at the beginning of your research proposal which is why DRUSSA Universities include research uptake in their funding proposals.
Alison Bullen is a content manager for the DRUSSA project, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org