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Exploring the Vitae Impact Lens

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Workshop by Pooja Takhar (Senior Manager: HEIs, Vitae) and Emma Gillaspy (Vitae NW Hub Manager) at the Vitae event 'Preparing for the Research Excellence Framework: Researcher development, the......

Workshop by Pooja Takhar (Senior Manager: HEIs, Vitae) and Emma Gillaspy (Vitae NW Hub Manager) at the Vitae event 'Preparing for the Research Excellence Framework: Researcher development, the environment and future impact' on 11 July 2012 in Manchester www.vitae.ac.uk/preparingfortheref

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  • 13:00 Each of us to introduce ourselves and relevance to this workshop
  • EG Outline workshop objectives
  • EG What is impact? Well, RCUK defines impact as... Diverse ways that research-related skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations. These include: - global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the UK - increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy - enhancing quality of life, health and creative output Above all, research must be of the highest quality: you can't have impact without excellence.
  • Here is the RCUK Pathways to Impact diagram. Wide range of possible routes to impact. Academic impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to scientific advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, method, theory and application. Economic and societal impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent social and economic research makes to society and the economy, of benefit to individuals, organisations and nations. The impact of social science research can be categorised as: Instrumental : influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour Conceptual : contributing to the understanding of policy issues, reframing debates Capacity building : through technical and personal skill development.
  • PT 13:10 These are some of the key changes being implemented in this new system of assessment The main new element being introduced is the assessment of impact: inclusion of impact is seen to give encouragement towards achieving the widest benefits beyond the academy, while providing public accountability for investment Impact assessment into the REF will explicitly reward research that has sustainability benefits
  • PT
  • PT Impact is broadly defined for the purpose of the REF as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia the two central criteria for assessing impact REACH: how widely felt it was SIGNIFICANCE: how much difference it made to the beneficiaries how to measure and quantify impact, both in terms of the numbers benefiting and the quantum of benefit?
  • PT To count in REF2014, an impact needs to have manifested at some point during, or indeed throughout, the given time window (Jan 2008 – Nov 2013) it must relate unambiguously and decisively to one or other aspect of a university department’s, institute’s or centre’s research the research that has generated the impact must have produced a formal research output at some point in the period since 1993 Case studies: A ‘scene-setting’ inventory of all impacts generated by the research group as a whole Must explain the position of the case studies within the group’s overall research activity Designed to prevent the prioritisation of certain subgroups and their portrayal as representative of the group as a whole
  • PT 13:15 Give out handout featuring examples, evidence and indicators. This information is more for them to take away but get them to have a flick through and think about how they can help support the development of impact in their institution. Ask for a few people to share their ideas in plenary
  • EG 13:20 What makes a successful researcher? We asked that question in semi-structured interviews with over 100 experienced researchers (mostly profs and PIs). The RDF was the result of that research. The RDF has been designed to help you plan, promote and support your personal, professional and career development. It was developed by you for you. The project began with an initiative at the 2008 Roberts Policy Forum. Vitae pulled together a working group in March 2009 and the project got underway. How was the RDF created? Empirical data from analysis of audio-recorded,. Everyone was asked to identify what they thought was important for a research career. Representative sample: range of experiences, institution types, geographical context, disciplines and demographics. Results: > 1000 characteristics and variants, clustered into common groups’ This provided the core of the framework – then consulted all the stakeholders who have a view on researchers Cross-referred results with other competency type frameworks, expert and specialist input – Research councils, careers, RIN, UCU Built a larger picture of what is means to be a researcher. What does the end result look like?
  • EG Highlight RDF A5 leaflet 4 domains which form the strategic RDS 12 sub-domains 63 descriptors Up to 5 phases of development for each descriptor
  • EG Point out 5 phases of development
  • EG Only 3 phases for development here
  • EG Designed primarily as a flexible framework for researchers but useful for supervisors, researcher developments, policy makers, employers etc too
  • EG
  • PT 13:25
  • PT The leadership lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework has been developed to focus on the knowledge, behaviours and attributes that one develops as a researcher and how these can be acquired through or used in leadership opportunities
  • PT Working together with our networks and other stakeholders, we want to develop a lens that will encourage researchers to be actively involved in thinking about how they can perform research with impact and to explore the knowledge, behaviour and attributes required for realising the impact RDF enables assessment of strengths and areas for further development - impact lens can put a spotlight to show how to improve your skills to perform research which has a wider impact Definition An effect on, change or benefit to: Economy Society Culture Public policy or services Health Environment Quality of life  
  • EG 13:30 Map out on posters what skills they think are needed to develop impactful researchers (5min) Get them to prioritise their top 5 (5min). Pull together common themes and reach consensus if possible (5-10min)
  • PT 13:50 What should we call the lens? Possibly a new name: Is "impact" is too generic? Misleading? has too many perceptions around it?
  • PT
  • EG 13:55 Prep a flipchart with some questions How are we going to develop these skills that are vital in impact? What training, development, strategy, policy etc do we need? Is some of this in place already? What else do we need to do – researchers, institutions, national/Vitae


  • 1. Exploring the Vitae Impact Lens Dr Pooja Takhar, Senior Manager: HEIs, Vitae Dr Emma Gillaspy, Vitae NW Hub ManagerVitae®, © 2011 The Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) Limited
  • 2. Today’s session RDF lenses Impact agenda RCUK Pathways to Impact REF Impact assessment REF impact submission Skills of impactful researchers Developing the RDF Impact Lens
  • 3. the demonstrablecontribution that excellentresearch makes to society and the economy RCUK
  • 4. Key changes: REF vs. RAE Inclusion of assessment of impact Fewer UoAs/panels, operating more consistently Strengthened equality and diversity measures Revised eligibility criteria for staff Addition of (limited) use of citation data in some UOAs Removal of ‘esteem’ as a distinct element Revised approach to ‘environment’ and data collection Publication of overall quality profiles in 1% steps
  • 5. The assessment framework: Overview 65% 20% 15% http://www.hefce.ac.uk/research/ref
  • 6. REF impact criteriaThe criteria for assessing impacts are reach and significanceIn assessing the impact template (REF3a) the panel will consider theextent to which the unit’s approach described in the template is conduciveto achieving impacts of ‘reach and significance’ Four star: Outstanding impacts in terms of their reach and significance Three star: Very considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance Two star: Considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance One star: Recognised but modest impacts in terms of their reach and significance Unclassified: The impact is of little or no reach and significance; or the impact was not eligible; or the impact was not underpinned by excellent research produced by the submitted unit
  • 7. REF impact submissions
  • 8. Examples Panel criteria and working methods ( www.ref.ac.uk/pubs/2012-01/) A social enterprise Research has enabled initiative has beenChanges to the Production costs stakeholders to challenge createddesign or delivery of have reduced conventional wisdomthe school curriculum Improved forensic Enhanced preservation, Improved access to methods or expert Policy debate or decisions conservation or presentation justice, employment systems have been influenced or of cultural heritage or education shaped by research Improved management or Jobs have been Research has informed conservation of natural Organisations have created or protected public understanding, values, resources adapted to changing cultural values attitudes or behaviours Enhanced corporate The policies or activities of Changes to Levels of waste have social responsibility NGOs or charities have been legislation or reduced policies informed by research regulations New forms of artistic Changes in Enhanced technical A new product has expression or changes to professional practice standards or been commercialised creative practice protocols
  • 9. Researcher DevelopmentFramework (RDF) RDF is an operational framework for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers How was it created? Core of the framework consists of data drawn from over 100 interviews Phenomenographic method* – identified over 1,000 characteristics and their variants Input from experts, specialists and stakeholders Clustered into the 4 main areas or Domains* See http://www.vitae.ac.uk/policy-practice/167281/Background-documents.html for further details on method.
  • 10. www.vitae.ac.uk/rdf
  • 11. Intellectual insight
  • 12. Self-reflection
  • 13. Strengths of the RDF Designed by researchers for researchers Use of a common language National consistency International competitiveness Independent resource Highlights value of developmental opportunities Supports researchers to take control
  • 14. Using the RDF (researchers) Personal and professional development Understand strengths Identify areas for development Set goals Self-assessment and review Job applications Next step on the career ladder Transferable skills Broad view of available career options
  • 15. RDF Lenses Focus on key knowledge, behaviour and attributes of researchers acquired through or used in various contexts or environments Lenses derived from the RDF employability, leadership, enterprise, intrapreneurship Lenses mapped from other frameworks public engagement, teaching, information literacy Next steps supervisor, impact, knowledge exchange
  • 16. Impact LensTo highlight the skills required by researchers to conductresearch which has an impact within and outside academia
  • 17. What makes an impactfulresearcher?What: Knowledge Skills Qualities Behaviours Etcwould they exhibit?
  • 18. It’s all in a name... Flickr ID: Giant Ginkgo
  • 19. Benefits of developingimpactful researchers Enhancing research quality and its impact Increasing awareness of the value of research to UK society Skills development New research perspectives / career enhancement Higher personal and institutional profile Forming new collaborations and partnerships Enjoyment and personal reward Additional funding Inspiring the next generational of researchers
  • 20. Bridging the gap FlickrID: thewrongglass
  • 21. Links and resources RDF: www.vitae.ac.uk/rdf RDS: www.vitae.ac.uk/rds RDF lenses: www.vitae.ac.uk/rdflenses Contact: rdf@vitae.ac.uk REF impact pilot exercise: www.ref.ac.uk/background/pilot/ RCUK Pathways to Impact www.rcuk.ac.uk/kei/impacts NCCPE REF summary: www.publicengagement.ac.uk/sites/default/files/NCCPE%20REF%20update%20 Top research departments fail to shine in impact pilot: www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=414898