Public intellectuals as they have traditionally been perceived, as individual scholars speaking truth to power, are a declining feature of public life. Responding to the centrality of digital communication in the public sphere Mark Murphy and Cristina Costa, argue that academia needs to further value and prioritise engagement with the digital public sphere and that beyond simply taking its […]
Who are stakeholders in research? A Science and Technology Studies approach to navigating research impact
The early engagement of ‘stakeholders’ in research is often presented as a simple way to ensure that research is aligned to the needs of research users and therefore impactful. However, who these stakeholders are and what their interests might be is not always obvious. In this post Robert Borst and Annette Boaz reflect on their research on stakeholder engagement as part of a larger […]
Mobile phone applications, Apps, have become a common feature of day to day life. However, their application to social research is only beginning to be experimented with and understood. In this post Wasim Ahmed, discusses The Rainy Day Project, a research project that from the outset was designed to employ an app and considers the how the inclusion of […]
‘Fake news’ and the manipulation of news media have become a fixture of the current political moment. Whereas, attempts have been made to regulate fake news and to direct internet users to more authoritative sources of information, these initiatives have also come under criticism for being overzealous and a break on press freedoms. In the post, Sander van der […]
Developing a finer grained analysis of research impact: Can we assess the wider effects of public engagement?
Promoting public engagement with research has become a core mission for research funders. However, the extent to which researchers can assess the impact of this engagement is often under-analysed and limited to success stories. Drawing on the example of development aid, Marco J Haenssgen argues we need to widen the parameters for assessing public engagement and begin to develop […]
Co-production – the inclusion of the stakeholders of research into the research process – is often presented as the gold standard for the production of socially relevant high impact research. However, undertaking co-produced research presents a range of challenges and risks that can be overlooked in the rush to engagement and impact. In this post Kathryn Oliver, Anita Kothari, […]
Building on Katherine Dommett’s and Warren Pearce’s recent post on the evidence for public trust in experts, Matt Wood argues that whilst the death of the expert has been oversold, the question of how expertise is put to use in modern democracies remains an unresolved dilemma. Drawing on research underpinning his recent book, Hyper-active Governance, he suggests that competing […]
Engaging in public discussion is a crucial aspect of academia. At the same time, female academics often encounter sexist abuse as a result of such engagement. Heather Savigny draws on interview data to argue that while women may seek to actively build impact and public engagement in to their research agendas, the site of interaction between media and academia is gendered […]
Following the Brexit vote and US presidential elections in 2016, it has frequently been argued that the current period is defined by a lack of trust in experts and expertise. But is there any empirical evidence to confirm or deny this assertion? In this post Kate Dommett and Warren Pearce analyse the available data on public perceptions of expertise and […]
What do you do with research that produces potentially harmful results? In this post Andrew Crane, explores how research can produce negative as well as positive impacts on society and discusses how his own research group has approached dealing with the complex issue of ‘negative impact’.
“If you put these things in your report it will kill our industry”. The […]
Some PhD students and early career academics feel that the demands placed on them are so intense that they can never devote time to ‘secondary’ activities. Research comes first and last, and the doctorate ‘grind’ is something that has to be ‘got out of the way’ before they can focus on anything else. In contrast, Hayley Teasdale argues that […]
Ahead of the Game – How impact is an additional hurdle for scholars from widening countries to receiving EU funding.
The next round of the EU’s research and innovation funding program, Horizon Europe, will include a requirement to develop a mission statement outlining how the research will achieve societal impact. In this post Stefan de Jong and Reetta Muhonen explore how regional variations across Europe in the understanding of research impact are likely to impact the opportunities of researchers […]
Drawing on case study evidence from the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme, Louise Shaxson suggests that developing a culture of engagement and collaboration is just as important to achieving research impact as following best practice, and presents five principles that underpin an effective research impact culture.
There’s no better way to occupy yourself over lunch at your desk on a rainy day […]
A blueprint for building university-based boundary organisations that achieve impacts on policy and practice
The uptake and integration of scientific research into decision-making processes remains a significant challenge. Many research organisations have begun to experiment with novel institutional structures aimed at enhancing the impact of research on policy and practice. Taking Stockholm University’s Baltic Eye Project as a case study, Marie Löf and Chris Cvitanovic present a blueprint for building university-based boundary organisations, […]
Public engagement is often thought to be something academics become involved in later in their careers, when relieved of the pressures to publish or secure funding and more able to devote time to outreach activities. Focusing on the successful SISSA for Schools programme, Simona Cerrato reports on a new generation of scientists who are confounding expectations and proving much […]
Studies have shown that while many factors affect decision-makers’ use of research, evidence of what particular engagement actions actually work is very limited. Indeed, increasing access to research appears to be the only intervention to reliably increase use. The Conversation is a free-to-access research communication platform designed to be accessible to general audiences. Pauline Zardo reports on The Conversation […]
Now a fixture of the higher education landscape, the “impact agenda” is partly fuelled by a cost-benefit framework that encourages universities to focus on demonstrating the economic value of their interventions. As a consequence, a clear pattern emerges with the government as the main beneficiary of impact, not wider society. Tina Basi and Mona Sloane argue that REF 2021 […]