In Tuesday’s Guardian I read an article about how the Research Excellence Framework (REF), due to replace the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2013, could make life even more difficult for researchers.
Among the issues looked at in evaluating research, it is proposed that the impact of research outside of the academic world should be taken into consideration. It is anticipated that 20% of the evaluation will judge impact, output will make up 65% and environment 15%. Impact will be measured using case studies that show evidence of public engagement or benefiting the wider community.
The importance given to impact is not a new thing. Researchers looking to develop an academic career have seen the need to demonstrate this for a while to ensure their own career success. So is it such a bad thing? I wonder whether this will actually be a good thing – both for those pursuing an academic career and those looking for a career change. After all, couldn’t this actually help you show the outside world how useful you could be to them, especially if your research is very academic? Could it be useful to have some evidence of the impact of your research to draw on? What do you think? Can you see any benefits? Have you thought how you could demonstrate impact? Are you seeing new opportunities for collaboration and networking? I’d like to know what you think.