Research Impact

Posted: April 2, 2010 in Academia

I’m on leave in Greece at the moment as part of a big research initiative: “Throwing Good Money After Bad: The Research Excellence Framework and the Quest for Measuring Impact”.  

Honestly. I just filled out a research proposal for a three-month study of beach culture in the Greek Islands, Turkey, and Southern California never thinking I’d get away with it especially when it came to the all-important section on research impact. Please demonstrate, it said, likely social, economic and cultural impact of proposed research. So I put down, “A good tan, record low stress levels and blood pressure for researcher, plus a possible insight into how beach cultures vary according to geographical location, cultural milieu and time of day”. Imagine my surprise when I got the letter telling me my application was successful!  I even got called up to the Vice Chancellor’s office for a glass of single malt.  

Though I did have to temper my ecstasy around the corridor.  Alas, one of my colleagues was turned down by the same research council. It was a blinding proposal to gauge the impact of social immobility on visual and cultural literacy. It was so much better and more worthy than mine, I thought, but she slipped up in that section on impact, where she claimed: “The research findings will have obvious social and cultural policy implications for a range of government departments, public bodies and voluntary agencies, with possible positive outcomes for people who’ve pawned the telly to feed the kids.”  Oh dear. But on the upside, she has been invited to resubmit for the next round. Any one out there that can suggest a better claim for impact, post it here and I’ll pass it on to her. I’m sure she’d be touched.

Well, that’s all for now. It’s blowing up a wee gale here and there’s sand getting in my laptop.

 A.A.

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