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INORMS 18: An Institutional Health Check for impact: diagnosing and prescribing institutional impact support

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As impact becomes a more established element of the academic research landscape, it is essential we develop healthy, not just practical means to drive social benefit from research. This talk from the INORMS research management conference (Edinburgh, June 2018) reflects on how to diagnose healthy practice and prescribe actions to address institutional ill-health. Speakers were Dr Julie Bayley and Dr Stephanie Maloney (University of Lincoln, UK), Dr Anthony Atkin (University of Reading, UK) and Tony Roche (Emerald Publishing Group).

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INORMS 18: An Institutional Health Check for impact: diagnosing and prescribing institutional impact support

  1. 1. An Institutional Health Check for impact: diagnosing and prescribing institutional impact support Dr Julie Bayley, University of Lincoln Dr Anthony Atkin, University of Reading Dr Stephanie Maloney, University of Lincoln Tony Roche, Emerald Publishing Group
  2. 2. Session • Impact and the institution • Publisher role: the Emerald connection • Institutional impact health and the 5Cs • Two case studies: • Lincoln • Reading • Activity
  3. 3. What is impact? 'the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy‘ (Research Councils UK). ‘an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia’ (Research Excellence Framework, UK) Shorthand: The provable benefits of research in the ‘real world’
  4. 4. Why institutions? • Impact agendas focus strongly on link between research/researcher and impact • Vital role of institution can be overlooked • Impact cannot be the responsibility of one person: needs connections • Individual impact literacy vital • BUT must ensure institutional literacy and support Bayley, J. and Phipps, D. (2017) Building the Concept of Impact Literacy, Evidence and Policy (available online) https://doi.org/10.1332/174426417X15034894876108
  5. 5. Publisher support.
  6. 6. Publishers have an important role to play. • Train authors to engage with and write for non-specialist audiences • Appoint practitioners to editorial boards • Transform published content to be more bite-sized and accessible • Broaden the publishing offer with structured abstracts and ‘implications’ section in papers • Align content strategies with Grand Challenges and Sustainable Development Goals
  7. 7. Our commitment
  8. 8. Tangible, valuable support
  9. 9. Celebrating impact commitment
  10. 10. Healthy impact institutions • Create, value and support the space needed • Acknowledges effort • Invests in capacity/skills • Coordinates internal teams and resources • Clear roles and strategy. • Continually learns from best practice • Builds strong connections with external stakeholders. • Impact embedded and aligned (‘business as usual’) • Impact delivered by confident, impact literate staff within a positive impact culture.
  11. 11. Unhealthy impact institutions • Compartmentalised and disconnected impact • Singular responsibility • No space to embed into process; left to the end • Expects – but does not invest – in staff abilities. • No strategy. • Staff reluctant, unclear or unconfident • Few or superficial connections to external stakeholders. • Impact culture is negative, non-existent or treated as compliance with assessment/external mandates only.
  12. 12. 5 Cs of Institutional Impact Health Commitment The extent to which the organisation is committed to impact through strategy, systems, staff development and integrating impact into research and education processes. ConnectivityThe extent to which the organisational units work together, how they connect to an overall strategy, and how cohesive these connections are. Coproduction The extent of, and quality of, engagement with non-academics for to generate impactful research and meaningful effects. Competencies The impact-related skills and expertise within the institution, development of those skills across individuals and teams, and value placed on impact-related specialisms. ClarityHow clearly staff within the institution understand impact, how impact extends beyond traditional expectations of academic research, and their role in delivering impact
  13. 13. University of Lincoln
  14. 14. The University of Lincoln Our Mission: ‘A university looking to the future’ where we serve and develop our local, national and international communities by creating purposeful knowledge and research, confident and creative graduates and a dynamic and engaged workforce. ‘A New Campus in an Ancient City’ - Established in 2001, Lincoln’s rise has been rapid (1,600 academic staff, 14,000 students) - In 18 years has moved from 100th ranked to 43rd – huge change (complete University Guide 2019) - Risen to highest ever position: 22nd in The Guardian University Guide 2019 - In REF2014 submitted to 17 UoAs, institutional ranking of 67 by GPA (weighted)
  15. 15. The University of Lincoln - Modern, Research Active institution with top 40 ambitions - Rooted in our local community driving forward regional economic growth: active anchor institution - Excellent high profile researchers, lots of translational research, not maximising the impact from our research, need to further develop our research environment - Clear identity, vision and strategy of where we were going but how do we get there? - Entrepreneurial culture: innovative approaches - Reluctant to create a dedicated impact post in professional services: impact is everyone's responsibility and needs to be embedded in academic culture - Sought external advise to review our current position and how to maximise the impact of the great work we are doing - How to sell a hybrid role to an institution for which there isn’t a role profile, contract and non-campus based premise???? - Important for role to facilitate maximising impact potential but not be solely responsible for it: how do we get buy-in, change mind-sets and embed in academic culture? Commitment Connectivity Coproduction Competencies Clarity
  16. 16. University of Reading
  17. 17. University of Reading
  18. 18. University of Reading Four-years of developing impact competencies
  19. 19. Competencies The impact-related skills and expertise within the institution, development of those skills across individuals and teams, and value placed on impact-related specialisms. Bayley, J.E, Phipps, D., Batac, M. and Stevens, E. (2017) Development and synthesis of a Knowledge Broker Competency Framework. Evidence and Policy (available online) https://doi.org/10.1332/174426417X14945838375124
  20. 20. Diagnosing Competence Either Identify competencies Or Identify lack of competencies
  21. 21. Building Competence Either Build from the bottom up Or Prescribe from the top down
  22. 22. Current Diagnosis of Competencies Large number of the competencies are covered by • Impact Board • Impact-Programme Manager • Impact Specialists • Research Communications Specialists • Knowledge Transfer Specialists • Review Panellists Investment Programme working across • 750 academics across 36 Divisions • Impact at all stages of development
  23. 23. Competencies The impact-related skills and expertise within the institution, development of those skills across individuals and teams, and value placed on impact-related specialisms.
  24. 24. Summary • Impact operates at all levels of an organisation and across multiple job roles. • Irrespective of type, size or funding, institutions must identify meaningful ways to support the knowledge, skills, resources and structures needed to deliver impact. • Making an institution healthier strengthens the culture and allows colleagues to maximise impact potential.
  25. 25. QUESTIONS?
  26. 26. Activity Diagnosing and prescribing impact health
  27. 27. Your institutional impact health The 5 Cs: Commitment (how committed is everyone to impact?) Connectivity (how connected are all those who need to be involved) Coproduction (how much are ‘users’ involved?) Competencies (do people have the necessary skills?) Clarity (how clear are definitions, institutional messages, expectations, roles) • Discuss a challenge you face in connecting research to impact • Diagnose the problem in terms of the 5 C’s • Prescribe an action to improve your impact health

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