Research Impact-Make it memorable 10 Dec presentation
The following presentation was made at the recent Pragmatic Impact Workshop at Brunel University, encouraging Impact Officers to ensure the whole organisation can access and contribute to impact data over time.
Known each other for years pre 2009 as we studied together and worked together at L’Oreal. We were used to reporting impact but each time had to start from scratch – wanted a scalable process to make this more efficient. Worked with clients on REF to build reputation then asked for scalable solution. There is no scalable structure existed. We formed a partnership with our software architects to help us design, build, deploy, maintain and support our development roadmap. We have seen existing CRIS clients approach us to ask if/how VV-IT could like to their CRIS. Could see the first tender coming out, asking for any system speaks to VV-IT Hence building partnerships with CRIS
VV’s revenue streams are from 3 areas: Consultancy – varies – mainly around supporting orgs to embed impact Focus is impact tracking – foresee revenues from this around 75% of the business Doing some work around opinion streaming and we are exploring how this may be useful for ROs and maybe linking in to VV-IT
This is the structure behind the impact taxonomy, it is a database of impact information. By allowing you to go through each section of the database, it allows you to navigate the taxonomy to identify the relevant impact impact pathways for your research project.
For example you have been providing educational talks at a museum, an impact type might be society, culture and creativity. We would then look at who has been affected by these talks, for example the stakeholders could be visitors The impact level asks, how they have been affected. In this case there could be an effect on perception or awareness and the resulting change is the outcome such as a change in public awareness. The impact indicator is the empirical way of demonstrating this change. For example change in audience demographics following the workshops.
We have used this taxonomy across academic disciplines from policy to engineering and it works. A university is using it in house to capture their impact data already as it allows organisations to capture structured data and to do meaningful analysis Because it provides precise, empirical indicators for measuring impact The material is also aligned with all major funders –from charities to RCUK
So what is the problem with showing our impact.
What we saw with REF 2014 that a major challenge was demonstrating impact. Was this the same for you? We really understand that evidence was not available. There are many issues with impact but this is the one to focus on today. How do we enable access to information.
The debate has moved on now from what is impact (Very difficult to standardise across disciplines, Scepticism and suspicion, Control of information) To key issues in demonstrating impact e.g. Ownership and attribution of impact Impact activity – planning for impact -Bridging academic / user divide Combining narrative with metrics
In addition- right now there is no way to systematically store the information that is going to make sense for projects across disciplines. Also, this is part of a larger culture change, academics need to see impact as a strategic tool rather than something that is going to be cumbersome and time intensive.
Basically, you had a research paper – grey piece and you knew that it had somehow affected a change in legislation. Challenge is the orange piece was unable to be proved. Which doesn’t allow attribution. We have the pathways to show you effective routes to impact
How are you handling this now? Have you tried to solve this problem? Have you found a solution?
We have been asked to develop VV-IT because whilst there have been some early attempts to capture impact, e.g. from CRIS providers and in house, clients (what you said to us and to the RAND report) have come back to us with the following challenges
Unstructured data from using large text boxes is a nightmare: an academic is faced with large text boxes which don’t provide guidance on how to fill them in. A tool is only as good as the data in it so supporting users to readily add in meaningful data is key and it makes it otherwise impossible for the organisation/ department to do an aggregated report It needs to be as easy as possible for the end-users to use now and in 5 years time – the information still needs to make sense. The current ways to capture impact are retrospective only outside of VV-Impact Tracker and do not prompt or encourage impact creating activities e.g. planning for a project when it is easier to identify appropriate resources. Users are logging in for approx. 10mins a week to update and add info to a project to develop their ICS so cooridinators can see - - wow this is a high potential project, how to amplify or oh no, this high potential project has no evidence – need to find out what is going on. We have seen that you can’t throw a system in and expect people to use it. VV-IT is designed to support and guide users and as part of the behaviour change piece, we have adopted a slow roll out process where by only those who want a tool to support them and their teams to manage their impact data have been given access in addition to the the central staff. These people are typically high potential Pis who want to excel at impact. From here we have seen it grow rapidly through word of mouth.
How does this resonate with your experience?
We have a quarterly Steering Group who share best practice, how they are using VV_It to help shape what we should do next to it. From the insight shared so far on how their orgs are using it, we can see how impact is on the research committee agenda. Where the impact officers prepare a brief report on what impact there is across the organisation e.g. we have created 50 jobs so far this year, we have 20 possible REF case studies so far. Impact officers use VV-IT to monitor project’s progress and ensure info is being kept about high potential/possible REFcase studies UOA cooridnators are using it to capture concepts- possible REF projects , With academics using it for Pathways to Impact development and reporting to various funders Grants are keen to ensure that impact activities are appropriately costed which we are doing more for in v2.0 Marketing/ PR often have access so can find case studies for website etc
VV-IT is based around projects. Projects can be defined as you wish – i.e. funded or not funded. Here we link objects e.g. publications from your repository to avoid duplication and provide the bare bones of an ICS, which is likely to be from a body of work. You can then use the online scrapbook to store all the info about this project. Then you can storyboard this info to develop your impact narrative, ready for export and editing This is how we do this
From LF I hear you’re keen to learn how people are using it...I can share insight today and following this it maybe helpful to put you intouch with a client already using it
Research Impact-Make it memorable 10 Dec presentation