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.
ACTION 2011: Sustainability
Having just returned from the launch of ACTION 2011: Sustainability I thought I’d share some news of it with you, so you explore this great opportunity for yourself.
At the launch we heard Professor Paul Younger talk about the challenges of sustainability both now and in the future – he highlighted how we should be thinking ahead – how things should be sustainable for our grand children’s grand children! We also heard Professor Max Robinson highlight what makes an entrepreneur – and how as a researcher you can become one without setting out to do so!
ACTION 2011: Sustainability provides a basis for research staff and postgraduate researchers to come together, outside of their existing research, to explore a sustainability challenge. Small teams will work together, throughout 2011, on a project that will engage you with the concepts of enterprise and research impact to address an issue under the theme of sustainability. It encourages you to get away from your desk, collaborate and think like an entrepreneur so that you develop a commercial approach to your research.
Each team will be provided with support through mentors, residential training and workshops – but you don’t need to be in a team to take part – individuals and teams can apply. All successful applicants will be brought together and given support to form teams over a two day residential training event.
The project is funded by the EPSRC but applications are welcomed from all disciplines – collaboration is key in this after all! Your idea could be a product or a service – it just needs to be a project that fits with the sustainability theme. Two prizes are available to the winning teams; a first prize of £10,000 and a second prize of £5000. Judges will be looking for business potential, the innovation of the proposal and the creativity of the team.
This initative is only open to Newcastle University researchers and provides a unique way to demonstrate a real understanding of the importance of research impact and collaboration. I’d urge you to find out more about how you could make the most of this opportunity.
Have a look at the website for more information ACTION 2011: Sustainability
Apply to take part by Tuesday 1st March 2011
Beacon North East is offering the right person (either a member of research staff or a completing research student working on the broad topic of ‘money’) the opportunity to disseminate their work and increase its impact in a unique and innovative way, namely at a stand-up comedy venue, the Bright Club in London. Once a month, Bright Club (in collaboration with One Green Firework, music promoters Duel in the Deep and the Beacon for Public Engagement at University College London) hosts a variety night. The evening provides researchers with the opportunity to perform alongside professional comedians and musicians, and since it began in May 2009, over 1000 members of the public have seen more than 70 researchers ‘doing their thing’. The event is hosted by a professional stand-up comedian who presents a number of researchers and prompts them to talk about their subject in a light-hearted and entertaining way, without sacrificing any of its quality, or ridiculing it.
THE OPPORTUNITY On the evening of December 7th, Bright Club is bringing its format to a conference hosted by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). One researcher from each of the six Beacon areas (of which BeaconNE is one) will be performing sets on the theme of ‘Money’. The topic is deliberately broad and the organisers are looking for researchers from any academic discipline who are able and willing to disseminate research related to this topic through the comedy medium. Training will be given in how to tailor material for an audience of comedy enthusiasts. You will be able to see a previous ‘gig’ in London on October 26th, followed by a one-hour training session the following morning in how best to tailor your research material for an audience of comedy enthusiasts. Then there will be a two-hour rehearsal session on December 6th. All expenses will be covered, both for the training and the event itself.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE The event is part of the NCCPE’s first national conference on 7th and 8th December 2010, with the broad theme of why and how universities should engage with the public. The conference aims to bring together people who are passionate about public engagement to share effective practice and to explore how to embed public engagement within HEIs.
Beacon North East (Beacon NE) is a partnership between Newcastle University, Durham University and the Centre for Life; for more information, see www.beaconnortheast.com. It is dedicated to:
• Improving the quality of research by bringing together academic experts with ‘experts by experience’ from outside the academic world • Working with local communities on research which solves real problems and makes a difference to people in the North East and beyond • Supporting and promoting public engagement at Durham and Newcastle universities
If you are interested in the possibility of enhancing the impact of your research in a most unusual way, please contact Kate Hudson Kate.Hudson@newcastle.ac.uk as soon as you can.
Vitae have launched two new publications which you can read or download from their website.
What do researchers do? Doctoral graduate destinations and impact three years on
This new publication provides comprehensive evidence of the value of doctoral study to researchers, their employers and society at large. It identifies six distinct ‘occupational clusters’ of doctoral graduates and illustrates how these highly talented individuals contribute to innovation and knowledge transfer through using their knowledge, skills and experience in research and non-research roles across all employment sectors.
What do researchers do? Career profiles of doctoral entrepreneurs 2010
A collection of 30 career stories from doctoral researchers who have gone on to become entrepreneurs – it includes people from a diverse range of disciplines doing everything from consultancy to setting up a company that manufactures an innovative backless bra!
Maximise the impact of your research group with Researchers in Residence
Maximise the impact of your research and develop your team’s transferable skills by engaging 11-19 year olds via the RCUK-funded Researchers in Residence scheme.
RCUK would like to encourage you to participate. Aimed at PhD students and early stage post-docs across the UK this school placement scheme provides an opportunity to inspire the next generation of researchers (11-19 years students) about their work.
Researchers that have been involved benefit by developing their public engagement, communication and teaching skills that help show experience on their CVs whether they continue on the academic career path or enter the jobs market.
Participation has also helped some researchers when completing Pathways to Impact due to the programme helping them to think about the wider social and ethical implications of their research.
All participating researchers receive free communication training and each placement lasts between 14 to 24 hours.
For more information see www.researchersinresidence.ac.uk or call 0845 365 7470.