May 2010. The Research Excellence Framework: Enhancing the Economic, Social and Cultural Impact of Research Professor Nigel Vincent, Assoc V-P (Research) Dr Andrew Walsh, University Research Office. 2006: Gov’t asks HEFCE to replace RAE with a new system intended to reduce assessment burden
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The Research Excellence Framework: Enhancing the Economic, Social and Cultural Impact of ResearchProfessor Nigel Vincent, Assoc V-P (Research)Dr Andrew Walsh, University Research Office
2006: Gov’t asks HEFCE to replace RAE with a new system intended to reduce assessment burden
2007: Initial proposals for REF set out a wholly metric-based assessment for STEM subjects and a ‘light-touch’ peer review regime for non-STEM
2008: Revised proposals for a unitary system where balance between metrics and “supplementary qualitative information” will differ between subject groups
2009: Consultation on developed proposals, including substantial role for data on bibliometrics and assessment of the economic and social impact of research
2010: Consultation outcomes reduce role for bibliometric data and confirm range of other elements consistent with RAE
2010: National pilot impact assessment (UoM participates)
2013/14 (or later?): Full implementation of REF for all subjects with QR funding fully driven by REF outcomesREF: Background and timetable
Portfolio of all types of research
Range of impacts during the assessment period
Quality of environment, sustainability and engagement
Assessed primarily via expert review. Possible role for bibliometric data
Case study evaluation. Panels of user and academic members
Narrative and metrics
c. 60% weighting
c. 20-25% weighting
c. 15-20% weighting
UK science budget has doubled in real terms from £1.3 billion in 1997-98 to almost £4 billion by end of 2010-11
Rationale? R&D as a public good
1. increasing the stock of useful knowledge;
2. training skilled graduates;
3. creating new scientific instrumentation and methodologies;
4. forming networks and stimulating social interaction;
5. increasing capacity for scientific and technological problem-solving;
6. creating new firms.
(The Relationship with Between Publicly Funded Basic Research and Economic Performance: A SPRU Review, HM Treasury 1996)Why this new focus on impact?
“A policy action has an researcheconomic impact when it affects the welfare of consumers, the profits of firms or the revenue of government… But the economic impacts of science and innovation are much more extensive than what can be captured by data on economic growth and productivity. The welfare and quality of life for consumers may be enhanced in a number of ways, including improved health and longevity; improved social outcomes; a clean, green and safe environment which supports the essentials of life: air, land, water and food; a safe and stable political environment and the maintenance of national security.”
(Measuring economic impacts of investment in the research base and innovation: a new framework for measurement, DTI, 2007)What do we mean by impact?
Quality of life
Types of impact
Public policy &
CulturalBreadth of impact
Nature of knowledge transfer – linear or otherwise? How to measure HEI impact in a complex process?
HEFCE – The proposals are not about:
Focusing narrowly on economic impact
Assessing impact of every researcher or output
Trying to predict future impact
Discouraging curiosity-driven research
Trading-off impact and excellence
Internal impact data collection & case study developmentIssues in Assessing Impact
Distinguish impact statements in REF and in grant applications
Impact stays with the institution
HEIs need to keep track of the consequences of research over a long timespan (20+ years)
Different types of impact with different disciplines
Different HEIs will have different missionsHow does the impact agenda change things:for universities?
Distinguish needs of REF from the larger issue of relevance to employers’ needs
REF is case-study based so not every project needs to be ‘impactful’
Individuals should always be aware of and contribute to public engagement
Good to be aware of the larger social and global context of researchHow does the impact agenda change things: for the individual researcher ?