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Title: Research impact evaluation, a wider context: Findings from a research impact pilot
Authors: Scoble, R
Dickson, K
Fisher, J
Hanney, S
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: In the face of increasing pressure to demonstrate the socio-economic impact of funded research, whether it is funded directly by research councils or indirectly by governmental research block grants, institutions have to tackle the complexity of understanding, tracking, collecting, and analysing the impact of all their research activities. This paper attempts to encapsulate the wider context of research impact by delineating a broad definition of what might be classified as impact. It also suggests a number of different dimensions that can help in the development of a systematic research impact assessment framework. The paper then proceeds to indicate how boundaries and criteria around the definition of impact and these dimensions can be used to refine the impact assessment framework in order to focus on the objectives of the assessor. A pilot project, run at Brunel University, was used to test the validity of the approach and possible consequences. A tool specifically developed for the pilot, the Brunel Research Impact Device for Evaluation (BRIDE), is used for the analysis of research impact collected during the pilot. The paper reports on the findings of the analysis produced by BRIDE and confirms how a number of areas might be greatly affected by the boundaries set on definition and dimensions of research impact. The pilot project shows that useful information on impacts can be generated and it also provides a way to identify areas of work from each unit of assessment for which it would be worth developing narrative case studies. The pilot project has illustrated that it is feasible to make progress in terms of assessing impact, but that there are many difficulties to be addressed before impact assessment can be incorporated into a system of assessing the impact from the university sector as a whole. The paper concludes with an institutional perspective of the value of the approach and highlights possible applications. It also confirms the intention to expand the pilot and introduce new lines of investigation.
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Community Health and Public Health
Health Economics Research Group (HERG)

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