It is rare that I read an academic book from cover to cover so fast but James Gow and Henry Redwood's new book on impact has so many useful insights! Here are some of the best bits...
Chapter 2 contains the most sophisticated discussion of impact as a concept and definition that I have seen, concluding in the end that we need to retain an ambiguous and open definition if it is to capture and "let bloom" the depth and breadth of what is possible
They provide new evidence that the highest rated impacts in REF2014 were typically based on work that started in the 1990s - impact is slow to bloom in every discipline
The vast majority of the 111 high scoring case studies they analysed had significant and/or prestigious research funding. Previous analyses I've seen have been restricted to single disciplines but this finding was across the board
High scoring case studies also had substantial funding from beneficiaries to help develop impacts
There was strong evidence of intensive researcher and beneficiary engagement, for example via embedded roles in projects or institutions
High scoring cases tended to quote testimonials extensively in the body of their text, with some case studies structured around quotes
High scoring case studies were typically compound and/or cumulative, integrating a range of related impacts into the narrative
Two thirds of high scoring case studies mentioned media or public engagement, though the authors emphasise this may not be a causal factor. It is clear that engagement is an important and overlooked aspect of impact, even if it is not always easy to link to instrumental outcomes
Many of the other findings chime strongly with the work @BellaReichard led with me and colleagues here nature.com/articles/s4159…, which Chapter 5 of the new book summarises and subsequently builds on.

Find out more about Gow and Redwood's new book here: g.co/kgs/zYjEUM

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More from @profmarkreed

5 Feb
There was already barely enough room in the three pages we got for pathways and impact summary. I can't see it will be possible to squeeze anywhere near 3 pages for impact out of the case for support without compromising the research
Not clear whether and how impact will be reviewed - at present panels can request a poor pathway to be revised as a condition of funding
I can see an entirely rational response for non-applied proposals to give a short paragraph to impact at most. Even if panels can still ask for revisions to impact, you get a competitive advantage if you devote 99% of the case for support to research and revise if funded
Read 6 tweets
28 Jul 19
This is what edited volumes were made for. Critical analysis of the impact agenda from a unique perspective by @KFenbyHulse, with a level of personal reflection and practical advice you will not find anywhere else in the literature. My review of "Research Impact and the #ECR" 👇
Exercise your academic freedom by choosing the sorts of impacts you want to generate from your research, and how you want to pursue them
Impact builds on impact: start small and celebrate every success no matter how tiny
Read 12 tweets
14 May 19
Tips I learned as a deputy chair of an interdisciplinary sub-panel for the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) scheme today (1 of 12) 👇
Create a clearly labelled section explaining why FLF will be transformational to your career (especially if you are on the margins of being an early career researcher)
The less early career you are, the stronger the track record you will need, if you want to be competitive (first author papers are particularly handy)
Read 13 tweets
21 Feb 19
I was on a @GCRF panel last month and this is what I learned about how to write a winning proposal (1 of 8) 👇
Interdisciplinarity social science often underpins impact, but don't include research or impact goals that require social science (like assessing barriers to adoption of your new ideas/tech) if you don't have a (relevant) social scientist on your team (2 of 8)
Include a monitoring and evaluation strategy in your pathway to impact: what are your milestones and how will you know when you have achieved impact. Actually collect data using indicators linked to your goals (tip: counting project website views isn't a great indicator) (3 of 8)
Read 9 tweets

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