The multidisciplinary, multi-impactful and multinational nature of research impact: Lessons from REF2014 and beyond
Last year was the first time that UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were required to submit 'impact case studies’ as part of their assessment - that is, to report on the non academic outputs of their research for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The team at the Policy Institute at King’s College London were commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to analyse the 6679 non-redacted impact case studies that were submitted and completed their report in March 2015 (http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/Year/2015/analysisREFimpact/).
In this session, Professor Jonathan Grant, who led the project will present some of the key findings from this study. The analysis of the case studies used text mining techniques leading to the identification of 60 impact topics or areas where research influences society, such as medical ethics, climate change, clinical guidance and women, gender and minorities. Automated text mining was supplemented with ‘deep mines’, where more than 1000 case studies were read to provide a deeper picture of the data – looking at specific questions such as ‘what is the impact and value of research on clinical practice and health gain?’ and ‘what has been the impact of research on BRIC countries?’. These case studies are now available to read online in a searchable database developed by Digital Science, providing a rich resource that has enabled us to demonstrate that UK research has thousands of different applications worldwide.