Impact for beginners: a new seminar series focussing on academic impact
The end of the REF2021 cycle gives the opportunity to share and reflect about impact in the hope of developing more knowledgeable, proactive and collaborative strategies for the future (and we are doing it way in advance of the next REF!).
Dr Elena Vacchelli from the Centre of Applied Sociology Research and Dr Giulia Zampini from the Gender, Deviance and Society Research Group have taken the initiative to resurrect an idea that began in 2018: to run a series of workshops, seminars and events on impact with a view to support our understanding and practices while also establishing themed working groups.
The series began on June 17th by inviting Professor Claire Donovan to share some of her wealth of experience and insights. Professor Donovan, who joined Greenwich in 2020, has a fascinating background: her research and her participation to the Technical Working Group on Research Impact in the Australian context directly contributed to influencing the design of the impact component of the UK’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework (Impact on Impact people!).
In this context, Professor Donovan was a strong advocate for the use of narrative impact case studies along with more quantitative indicators and is also particularly invested in developing strategies for impact in social science and humanities research, which is of course the core of FLAS.
She provided us with a thorough breakdown and lots of useful tips, including the importance of knowledge coproduction and embedding impact into project planning from the get-go. For more details, you can watch the talk here
Some fascinating questions and issues came up in the Q&A, such as the potential epistemic differences between the humanities and social sciences’ understandings of and approaches to impact, as well as the subtle variations and overlaps between research impact, research beneficiaries, and knowledge exchange.
In the second part of the webinar, participants are invited to share their experiences of impact and strategies to achieve it. They also touched upon institutional enablers and barriers, and finally, they asked what kind of working groups they would benefit from creating to generate collaboration and increase our confidence.
Some participants expressed an interest in creating a working group with a specific focus on impact in the humanities. Others called for a working group and forum centred on the ethics and practices of coproduction. Others still proposed setting up a group on developing good impact case studies in the humanities and social sciences.
These will become core areas of interest and development in the series. They will dedicate one event/workshop to each of these domains, inviting expert external speakers. They will also set up a Teams forum for resource sharing around impact, with separate channels for each area and working group.
We look forward to seeing you at our future events!