Friday, 21 March 2014

After the REF event

Dr Emma Ward reports on a half day workshop she attended at the University of London last week (arranged by Knowledge London).

"The focus was on impact, and discussion points surrounded the challenges that we are all facing, and how to maintain momentum now that the last REF round is out of the way. A dominant theme was the ambiguity around what counts as impact and how best to measure it. Impact does not mean the same thing for every researcher, but the key thing I took away from the meeting was a deeper understanding of what impact could translate as for me in my research. It was helpful to view impact more in terms of a metaphor of an ecosystem rather than some kind of explosion of worth.

We were given an impact toolkit to take away, which has been devised by Averil Horten of Brunel University. This is not available electronically at the moment, so anyone who wishes to have a look is welcome to borrow it. The toolkit was developed with the question of how we take knowledge and convert it into impact in mind. Averil suggested that thinking about impact is difficult for some researchers because it requires consideration of the big picture when they are used to thinking about their research in very specific terms. The toolkit aims to help people identify and describe different types of impact, and understand what evidence of impact might look like in their field."

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