Tagged / impact

My personal experience at Café Scientific

Café scientific was one of the best public engagement activities that I have done in the past years, and I do recommend going there and deliver your talk to the public.

In all my past experiences (including pint of science, the festival of learning, U3A, the Air Show and others) I have always met great people who were interested to know and learn more about what we are doing here at BU, and at Café Scientific, it was no different.

I arrived there 1h before the talk, the café (vintage/steampunk style), was already set up for the event, thanks to the great work of the Public Engagement Team. So I had all the time to calm down and get ready.

At about 19:30 the place was packed, and few people had to listen to the talk standing up.

A sample of the presentation is available on Youtube:

Even if the room was fully booked, the audience was very quiet and focused on listening to the 40 minutes presentation.

However, the best part was at the end, and I am not referring to the delicious brownie cake that Boscanova Café made for celebrating the 5th birthday of Café Scientific, but for the questions.

I was happily surprised to have so many interesting questions, which made me think again about my projects.

There were questions about: the effect of singing and yoga exercises on balance; why not make a POWERbreathe that instead of a mouthpiece has a nosepiece; how much the improvement in balance was due to the strength of the muscles trained and not just the ability to breathe deeper; why not test the effects of meditation, and others very intelligent questions.

Finally, it was challenging and I hope that all the audience received the right message: research can be fascinating and fun, especially if you can share it with others.

If you are interested in know more about how to breathe your way into balance, contact me at fferraro@bournemouth.ac.uk

Thank you for reading.

Francesco.

REF2021 – initial decisions finally published

On Friday there was an exciting update from the REF Team based at HEFCE – they published the initial decisions on REF 2021. Whilst this does not include decisions regarding submitting staff, output portability or the eligibility of institutions to participate in the REF, it does include key decisions regarding the UOA structure, institution-level assessment, and the assessment weightings.

The decisions published on Friday are summarised below:

 

OVERALL:

Assessment weightings:

  • Outputs 60% (down from 65%)
  • Impact 25% (up from 20%)
  • Environment 15% (same but now includes impact strategy)

The move of the impact template from the impact assessment to the environment assessment means impact will actually contribute to more than 25% of the weighting (see impact section).

Assessment will continue to use the five-point REF 2014 scale (1*-4* and Unclassified).

UOA structure:

  • Total UOAs reduced from 36 to 34
  • Engineering will be a single UOA – UOA 12
  • REF 2014 UOA 17 will be restructured to form UOA 14: Geography and Environmental Studies and UOA 15: Archaeology
  • ‘Film and Screen Studies’ will be located and included in the name of UOA 33: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies
  • HEFCE will continue consulting with the subject communities for forensic science and criminology to consider concerns raised about visibility. A decision is expected this autumn.

HESA cost centres will not be used to allocate staff to UOAs. Responsibility for mapping staff into UOAs will therefore remain with institutions.

 

TIMETABLE:

Impact:

  • Underpinning research must have been produced between 1 Jan 2000 – 31 Dec 2020.
  • Impacts must have occurred between 1 Aug 2013 – 31 Jul 2020.

Environment:

  • Environment data (such as income and doctoral completions) will be considered for the period 1 Aug 2013 – 31 Jul 2020.

Outputs:

  • The assessment period for the publication of outputs will be 1 Jan 2014 – 31 Dec 2020.

The draft REF 2021 guidance will be published in summer/autumn 2018 and the final guidance will be published in winter 2018-19. The submission will be in autumn 2020.

 

OUTPUTS:

Interdisciplinary research:

  • Each sub-panel will have at least one appointed member to oversee and participate in the assessment of interdisciplinary research submitted in that UOA.
  • There will be an interdisciplinary research identifier for outputs in the REF submission system (not mandatory).
  • There will be a discrete section in the environment template for the unit’s structures in support of interdisciplinary research.

Outputs due for publication after the submission date:

A reserve output may be submitted in these cases.

Assessment metrics:

Quantitative metrics may be used to inform output assessment. This will be determined by the sub-panels. Data will be provided by HEFCE.

 

IMPACT:

  • Impact will have a greater weighting in REF 2021 (25% overall plus impact included in the environment template and therefore weighting).
  • Harmonised definitions of academic and wider impact will be developed between HEFCE and the UK Research Councils.
  • Academic impacts will be assessed as part of the ‘significance’ assessment of the outputs and therefore not in the impact assessment.
  • Further guidance will be provided on the criteria for reach and significance and impacts arising from public engagement.
  • The guidance on submitting impacts on teaching will be widened to include impacts within, and beyond, the submitting institution.
  • Impacts remain eligible for submission by the institution in which the associated research was conducted. They must be underpinned by excellent research (at least REF 2*).
  • Impact case study template will have mandatory fields for recording standardised information, such as research funder, etc.
  • The number of case studies required – still not confirmed – HEFCE are exploring this in relation to the rules on staff submission and the number of outputs.
  • Case studies submitted to REF 2014 can be resubmitted to REF 2021, providing they meet the REF 2021 eligibility requirements.
  • The relationship between the underpinning research and impact will be broadened from individual outputs to include a wider body of work or research activity.

 Institutional-level assessment (impact case studies):

  • HEFCE will pilot this assessment in 2018 but it will not be included in REF 2021.

 

ENVIRONMENT:

The UOA-level environment template will be more structured, including the use of more quantitative data to evidence narrative content:

  • It will include explicit sections on the unit’s approach to:
    • supporting collaboration with organisations beyond HE
    • enabling impact – akin to the impact template in REF 2014
    • supporting equality and diversity
    • structures to support interdisciplinary research
    • open research, including the unit’s open access strategy and where this goes beyond the REF open access policy requirements

Institutional-level assessment (environment):

  • Institution-level information will be included in the UOA-level environment template, assessed by the relevant sub-panel.
  • HEFCE will pilot the standalone assessment of institution-level environment information as part of REF 2021, but this will not form part of the REF 2021 assessment. The outcomes will inform post-REF 2021 assessment exercises.

 

PANEL RECRUITMENT:

  • The sub-panel chair application process is now open (details available via the link).
  • The document sets out the plan for the recruitment of panel members (a multi-stage approach)

 

OUTSTANDING DECISIONS:

The announcement does not include decisions regarding submitting staff, output portability or the eligibility of institutions to participate in the REF. There is ongoing dialogue between HEFCE (on behalf of the funding councils) and the sector regarding this. The letter (accessed via the link above) sets out HEFCE’s current thoughts on these points and invites the sector to feedback by 29 September 2017.  BU will be providing feedback so if you have a view on this then please email me (jnortham@bournemouth.ac.uk).

 

SUMMARIES AVAILABLE:

BU Senior Academic in Events Management Presents at Sussex Impact Day

Images from the Capturing Event Impacts presented by Dr Nicole Ferdinand at the Sussex Impact Day

Dr Nicole Ferdinand, Senior Academic Events Management, was one of the presenters at the Sussex Impact Day, at University of Sussex, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Falmer, Brighton, June 13th 2017. Her presentation on Capturing Event Impacts by Developing an Event Profile was one of three sessions which were dedicated to Understanding Event Impacts. It was praised for providing useful “practical information” to University of Sussex Academics, who were increasingly “using events to accelerate the impacts of their research” by Megan McMichael, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Project Manager at Sussex University. Key insights from her presentation included: the need to have a dedicated budget to capture impact; the increasing importance of capturing social media impacts and incorporating automation or e-evaluation tools to make event impact capture easier. 

Images from the Plenary Session at the Sussex Impact Day

The University of Sussex Impact team also invited Dr Ferdinand to join other sessions at the Impact Day, including the plenary session featuring external organisations who have first hand experience of working with academics. The speakers were Mr Antonio Capillo, Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager at The Fairtrade Foundation, Ms Tao-Tao Chang, Research Grants manager at The Victoria and Albert Museum, Dr Penny Hawkins, Head of Research Animals Department at the RSPCA and Dr Malcolm Skingle, Academic Liaison Director at GSK.

For more on the Sussex Impact Day have a look at a summary of the day’s events and Dr Ferdinand’s session on Capturing  Event Impacts on  Storify.

FHSS – New Impact Champion

I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Impact Champion for the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences. When I began my research journey several years ago I knew I wanted my research to make a difference. It is this on-going desire to make a difference which led me to pursue this role of Impact Champion.

Part of my role is to take the lead in supporting academics to develop, maintain and ensure that research impact aligns with our core principle of ‘helping to make people’s lives better’. I will also be involved in developing impact case studies, and proactively accelerating impact in relation to REF.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is anything I can do to support you in your research impact.

Clare Killingback: ckillingback@bournemouth.ac.uk

RCUK launches impact reports

Yesterday, the RCUK launched reports detailing the impacts of a collective investment of £3.4Bn in 2015/16.  These impact reports showcase specific examples of the impact of investment through their various awards, programmes and collaborations. The wide-ranging nature of the impact extends from furthering technological advances to combatting disease to breakthroughs in the creative economy.  Click here for an overview.

Links to Impact Reports are available below:

Impact – in numbers

  • Growth, productivity and job creation
  • 93% of Research Council funded PhD graduates are employed 6 months after graduation
  • 17,435 current doctoral students
  • 57 spin out companies and 182 instances of IP in 2015
  • 30% of academics interact with private business
  • £229M additional funding leveraged from external partners
  • 17% rate of return on public investment in medical research (See MRC impact report)
  • 3202 instances of new collaborations reported in researchfish® in 2015/16 across all Research Councils
  • More than 50% of PhD graduates work outside academia 7-9 years after graduation – CFE Research (2014)

Global impacts

So what?

so whatRKEO have hosted two funder visits in the past three weeks (Interreg and Medical Research Council).  Both funders highlighted the ‘So what?’ principle in terms of research ideas, i.e. what is the consequence of your work; who can benefit from your work in the long-term and what can be done to increase the chances of the work reaching those beneficiaries.  Even if your proposal doesn’t directly address economic or societal impact you should be able to explain the pathway that links your work to – using the example of MRC – improving human health.

In order to describe the impact of your work, keep asking yourself ‘so what?’ or even better, describe your research idea to a colleague (or to take a step further, a member of the public) and get them to ask ‘so what’ at each point when you think you’ve finished explaining. RKEO had another funder visit today, the British Academy, and they used the phrase ‘Try not to be Gollum’, i.e. don’t be precious about your research and invite comments from others, share it and make it interesting.

Being able to fully explain the impact of your research will obviously increase your chances of being successful when applying for external research funds.

impactThere are a vast number of resources available on strengthening your research proposals and developing impact.  Most funders will have guidance on impact, for example, section 2.2.5 of the MRC funder guide provides tips on articulating potential impact.  They may also have impact reports; links to all of the research councils impact reports can be found in the BU research blog’s Research Funder Guide.  BU has an online toolkit to help support the development of your research impact.  The toolkit explores what impact is, how you can go about creating an impact strategy, and looks at some commonly used pathways to impact, as well as examples of outstanding impact case studies.

For more information about impact, please contact the RKEO Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team or if you’re putting an application together and want advice on the impact sections, please contact the RKEO Funding Development Team.