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    Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges

Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges

Challenges posed by events such as Brexit highlight the importance of excellent research programmes. Moreover, they represent a broader context in which the next Research Excellence Framework must consider ‘impact’. But do current REF proposals go far enough towards doing this? Matthew Guest argues that there is not enough of an incentive for institutions to address heightened societal, economic […]

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    Book Review: Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity by Lorenza Antonucci

Book Review: Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity by Lorenza Antonucci

In Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity, Lorenza Antonucci examines the material inequalities that shape young people’s experiences of higher education by examining welfare provision in three European countries – England, Italy and Sweden. Heather Mew welcomes this book as an eye-opening account that shows how austerity policies are leading universities to reinforce rather than remedy […]

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    The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

Writing is crucial to an academic’s role of producing, shaping and distributing knowledge. However, academic writing itself is increasingly being shaped by the contemporary university’s managerial practices and evaluation frameworks. Sharon McCulloch describes how her research on academics’ writing practices has revealed tensions around the ways in which managerial practices interact with academics’ individual career goals, disciplinary values and […]

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    The university challenge: what would an Intelligent Brexit look like?

The university challenge: what would an Intelligent Brexit look like?

The EU brought invaluable networks for research and collaboration to the UK. More than that, it fostered a shared democratic culture of openness and tolerance. But these links will have to change as Britain pursues a hard Brexit. Time is short, write Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon, and universities need to make the case for an ‘Intelligent Brexit’ that will […]

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    Book Review: Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle

Book Review: Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle

In Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy, Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle offer a diagnosis and remedy for the malaise currently gripping the study of philosophy, advocating a ‘field philosophy’ that aims to break free of the strictures of its disciplinary and departmental settings that have led to accusations of insularity and irrelevance. While suggesting that the authors’ claims […]

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    No longer welcome: the EU academics in Britain told to “make arrangements to leave”

No longer welcome: the EU academics in Britain told to “make arrangements to leave”

Some EU citizens living in Britain who decided to seek permanent residency after the Brexit vote are being told to make arrangements to leave. A number of these people are among the 31,000 EU academics currently working in UK universities. Colin Talbot says many are alarmed and some have already decided to leave – putting the expertise of Britain’s […]

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    Why students should not be taught general critical-thinking skills

Why students should not be taught general critical-thinking skills

It’s natural to want children and graduates to develop a set of all-purpose cognitive tools with which to navigate their way through the world. But can such things be taught? Carl Hendrick argues that general critical thinking skills cannot be so easily transferred from one context to another.

Being an air-traffic controller is not easy. At the heart of the […]

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    Developing social science identities in interdisciplinary research and education

Developing social science identities in interdisciplinary research and education

While it is no longer uncommon for social scientists to be included in research groups tackling complex problems in the natural sciences, limited understanding of the different disciplinary areas within the social sciences remains a challenge. Eric Toman describes the approach social science faculties at his university have taken to address this and also outlines how graduate training programmes […]

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A call to build an impact literate research culture

Last week, Julie Bayley spoke at the 2016 Research Impact Summit, hosted by Knowledge Translation Australia. During her presentation she discussed many of the challenges faced when introducing an impact agenda to the academic community, and how the concept of impact literacy can help. An extended version of the presentation has been made available online, but Julie outlines the key points below.

Consider impact. A […]

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    Coeducation at university was – and is – no triumph of feminism

Coeducation at university was – and is – no triumph of feminism

In the late 1960s, many elite universities suddenly welcomed women to their undergraduate student bodies. However, as Nancy Weiss Malkiel explains, this was not the consequence of a high-minded commitment to opening opportunities to women but rather one of institutional self-interest. Little wonder, then, that coeducation has failed to lead to a levelling of the playing field for men […]

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    Academic labour markets in Europe vary widely in openness and job security

Academic labour markets in Europe vary widely in openness and job security

Having examined the organisation of Europe’s academic labour markets, Alexandre Afonso outlines the main differences between countries across the continent. There is greatest variance in two particular areas: the extent to which they are open to outsiders, and the job security they provide for recent PhD graduates. This has obvious consequences for the mobility of academics across Europe and […]

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    Using Twitter as a teaching tool can boost engagement and enrich classroom debate and discourse

Using Twitter as a teaching tool can boost engagement and enrich classroom debate and discourse

Social media offers great opportunities for teaching. Wasim Ahmed and Sergej Lugovic have reviewed the literature on the use of Twitter in the classroom and have noted its benefits to both students and teachers. Not only can it increase participation and engagement, particularly among more introverted students, but it can also be used to bring new, popular resources into […]

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Giving evidence in Parliament: a how-to guide for academics

Providing evidence to policymakers through select committees is a great way for researchers to influence current policy debates. But if you haven’t done it before, the formality of the task may appear daunting. Patrick Hanley has compiled thoughts and experiences from several LSE academics with their tips on preparing and giving evidence to policymakers. This is part one of a series on giving […]

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Why are interdisciplinary research proposals less likely to be funded? Lack of adequate peer review may be a factor.

Recent findings suggest interdisciplinary research is less likely to be funded than discipline-based research proposals. Gabriele Bammer looks at how interdisciplinary research is currently peer reviewed and argues different review processes may well be required to do justice to these different kinds of interdisciplinarity. Discipline-based researchers may be ill-equipped to evaluate the integrative processes that an interdisciplinary proposal plans to […]

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    Social science at the crossroads: the history of political science in the USA and the evolution of social impact.

Social science at the crossroads: the history of political science in the USA and the evolution of social impact.

What role should social scientists play in society? Louisa Hotson explores the evolution of the social sciences through four periods in the history of political science, each with different implications for how social science makes a difference. These lessons from history encourage us to think more broadly than we have in recent decades about how we define the ‘impact’ of the social […]

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Cost-benefit analysis of the Teaching Excellence Framework

As the Higher Education and Research Bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons, Dorothy Bishop revisits the costs and benefits of one of its primary components, the Teaching Excellence Framework. Based on the government’s own analysis, the system is designed to separate winners and losers with potentially devastating effects for the losers. The outcome will depend crucially […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.