RCUK – Strategic Vision 2011-2015

Research Councils UK have published their Strategic Vision This document sets out the themes and priorities for 2011 to 2015.  It addresses:

  • Research to address societal changes
    • Digital Economy, Energy, Global Food Security, Global Uncertainities, Lifelong Health & Wellbeing, Living with Environmental Change.
  • RCUK’s relationship with HE sector
    • Wakeham Review & full economic costings; managing demand for research funding;  allocating funding to research that addresses strategic priorities; encouraging the sharing of estates costs and the sharing of resources…
  • Research
    • Funding people & projects; training for a highly-skilled workforce, economic growth and sustainability of the research base; facilities and infrastructure.
  • Impact
    • Increasing our economic and societal benefits; choosing our research priorities; embedding impact; the evidence base of impact.
  • Partnerships
    • Working with the Technology Strategy Board; working with government departments; global partnerships; partnerships with society.

RCUK respond to REF pilot report

In a brief press release on their website, RCUK “welcomes the findings of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) pilot scheme that demonstrates it is possible to assess the economic and societal benefits arising from research and how this can be achieved across all disciplines.

Professor Dave Delpy, RCUK Impact Champion said: “RCUK is committed to supporting excellent research that ensures social wellbeing and economic prosperity and ultimately places the UK in a position of leadership on the world stage of research and innovation. We support the wide definition of impact, as set out in this report, which includes social, economic, cultural, environmental, health and quality of life benefits. This reflects the approach already adopted by RCUK through Pathways to Impact.”

RCUK has worked closely with the Funding Councils to ensure that proposals for the REF will be effective in pursuing shared objectives and will continue to support the REF by working with HEFCE to contribute expertise in developing impact assessment methodologies.”


Making an impact: using Journal Citation Reports

Making an impact: using Journal Citation Reports and other tools to measure the impact of your research

Wed. 21st July 10 – 11, PC Room 3 in the Library

This session will look at the ways you can monitor the impact your publications are having, especially when considering the REF. We will also look at Researcher ID as a way of raising your own profile, Journal citation reports, and Web of Science facilities such as cited reference searching, citation mapping, times cited, citation alerts and amending your author name if necessary. To book a place email s.glen@swansea.ac.uk

There is also a new Library web page with further help and advice: Making an impact: using bibliometric tools to assess your research

Report on Impact as a factor in the REF

The Times Higher has a story reporting on a conference held at King’s College London last week. The director of research at HEFCE claims that a consensus is developing about how to measure impact in research.

Read the THE story “Impact hostility is melting away

Presentations from the conference at King’s College can be found at http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iss/support/ref/june2010

RCUK – Impacts: People and skills

Impacts: People and Skills is the 5th in a series of publications from RCUK which highlight the impact of research and higher education in the UK.It brings together a range of case studies from a variety of disciplines.

David Willetts, Universities and Science Minister, said: “This report by Research Councils UK highlights the critical importance of cutting-edge research in a knowledge economy. It is great that over 60% of Research Council UK Doctoral graduates take their skills into the wider economy, many in the areas we need for growth – life sciences, advanced manufacturing and low carbon technologies. I am therefore delighted that RCUK has taken this initiative and I hope that this publication will encourage our future scientists to continue this tradition.”

US to measure research impact

A new federal project aims to provide evidence of return on US investment in science. Julia Lane, Director of the Science of Science and Innovation Programme believes manual reporting is inefficient and puts a burden on academics. The study will use citations and patents to monitor the impact of research in a similar way to that originally proposed for the UK REF.

The full story can be found at Chemistry World from the RSC

Impact of university & business research collaboration in UK

A new report – “Absorbing Research: The role of university research in business and market innovation” -has been published by the CIHE (Council for Industry and Higher Education). The report,  sponsored by RCUK, draws on 22 case studies and recommends a variety of ways in which RCUK can help to support and promote collaboration between academic researchers and business. There are proposals for incorporating the development of  ‘commercial skills’ into the career progression of early career researchers, as well as for using financial incentives to encourage collaboration between business and university researchers.  The report sees the development of the impact factor in research funding as important, but recommends that the funding councils should go beyond ‘issuing guidelines about impact’ and proposes the ‘Research Councils should support the experiential learning of different ways of developing different pathways to impact’. From analysis of the case studies and company workshops, the report also draws a list of ‘enabling’ and ‘limiting’ factors. For example, businesses can find the academic research pace slower than the commercial, and the quest for ‘results which are both robust and repeatable’  can ‘sometimes be incompatible with commercial objectives, where an “80%” solution may suffice’. On the other hand, there was an appreciation for the greater objectivity of university researchers, and a belief that ‘leading edge research’ is only to be found in universities. The report, which RCUK considers to be in line with its own support for ‘excellent research that attracts business and industry from around the world’ is available from the CIHE website.

Research Excellence Framework – news

Outcomes from the REF consultation exercise have now been announced. Results show overwhelming support for expert review and the quality of research outputs to be the main element of the REF. There was support in principle for assessing the social and economic impact of research although reservations about how this could be done in practice. A pilot is currently looking at how to assess impact and will report in Autumn 2010.

A summary of the consultation responses and initial decisions can be found at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/ref