When we establish a research impact culture in an institution we get many benefits. The most obvious is support for the development of REF impact case studies. But I would argue that there are other benefits we can get too.

These include:

  • More meaningful and productive partnerships with the users of the research
  • More inspiring teaching, grounded in real-world examples that are meaningful to students
  • Raised awareness of the institution’s research, locally and globally
  • Increased income for the institution

The UK has the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Some other countries have similar exercises. Their purpose is to assess the quality of the research in an institution. Impact case studies will account for 25% of the weighting in REF 2021 – up from 16% in REF 2014.


But it’s not all about the next REF.

Impact managers and their colleagues spend a good deal of time developing a research impact culture in their institution. When we fully establish such a culture we can help all staff (and students) to understand what research impact is. And what it is not. This can also help us to get a wide range of other benefits – in line with the institution’s mission (or purpose).


Developing and sustaining a research impact culture

In the picture below I aim to summarise examples of key elements of a research impact culture in an institution. The picture also lists some of the benefits or outcomes of establishing such a culture. Just like a plant, a research impact culture needs to be nurtured to sustain it.

Recent related posts from me include:

The importance of having a research engagement strategy

Reasons to promote engagement in universities

Top Tips for university researchers to collaborate with non-academic organisations

Jenny Ames had a 35 year career both as an academic and a senior university manager before establishing Jenny Ames Consulting Ltd in 2017. She has led on all aspects of research at faculty and university level. She was also founding Research Impact Lead for University Alliance. Jenny Ames Consulting Ltd was founded to initiate, nurture and sustain strategic partnerships stemming from the needs of society, the outputs of academic research and the expertise residing in universities. These partnerships involve universities and organisations including the private, public and charity sectors, civic society and communities.


Author Jenny Ames

Working with Universities, Businesses and their Stakeholders to benefit Society.

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