Celebrating BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021!

Behind the headline figure of 47 impact case studies BU submitted to REF 2021 is several years’ preparation: a ‘light touch’ exercise in 2015, a stocktake in 2017-18, an impact review in 2018, two full Mock Exercises in 2019 and 2020, and a further adhoc review last November. The number of case studies submitted to the 2020 Mock was actually 73 – illustrating the fact that an even larger pool of researchers was involved in the process of honing BU’s impact submission.

Impact is for life, not just REF

Inevitably,  impact case study teams heaved a huge sigh of relief once the button was pushed on REF 2021, but impact exists beyond REF, and, of course, existed before it. As Fast Track Impact’s Mark Reed puts it, ‘impact is the good that researchers can do in the world’. With that in mind, we will be showcasing BU’s impact case studies on the Research blog over the coming weeks. As well as acknowledging the hard work that went into producing them, and highlighting the breadth of BU’s research, we hope this series of posts will also provide insight and inspiration for researchers at all stages of their careers.

What exactly is an impact case study?

A 5-page document, comprising:

  1. A 100-word pithy summary of the impact achieved.
  2. A 500-word section describing the research underpinning the impact.
  3. 6 research outputs, referenced in the section above, which directly link to the impact.
  4. A 750-word narrative that details the impact/s achieved.
  5. 10 pieces of evidence to corroborate the impact claims, in the form of independent factual sources, testimonial letters etc.

… and all conveyed in a style as accessible to the lay reader, as to the expert in the field.

Next post: 1) how BU research informed one of the largest citizen science projects ever conducted; and 2) helped save consumers from more than £22m in scams.

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