Celebrating the impact of Wales’s research

By Kirstie Hewlett and Saba Hinrichs-Krapels

We and colleagues have carried out several analyses exploring the impact case studies submitted to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the national assessment of the quality of UK universities’ research.

We first looked at all 6,679 non-redacted impact case studies submitted to REF 2014. Then followed commissions to undertake further analyses of sub-samples, including a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research and another on international development. Now, for the first time, we have published a report, commissioned by the Learned Society of Wales, in which we analysed all of the case studies submitted for a single devolved country – the 273 impact case studies submitted from universities in Wales. Continue reading

Lifting the lid on a live project: Bringing behavioural insights into NHS procurement

By Harriet Boulding, Saba Hinrichs, Hannah Burd, Mark Egan and Michael Hallsworth

In his February 2016 independent report, Lord Carter announced the creation of a ‘model hospital’. The purpose of this imaginary hospital is to show ‘what good looks like’ by providing a set of metrics, best practice checklists and benchmarks for other hospitals to build into their procurement processes.

This is a much needed endeavour. Lord Carter noted that ‘after analysing the variation in non-clinical resource costs we believe there is at least a £2 billion opportunity across the areas of procurement, estates and facilities and administration (back-office) costs.’ Continue reading

From STEM to STEAM: Lessons from biomedical and health research

Professor Jonathan Grant

This blog post is an edited version of a speech given by Professor Jonathan Grant to The Culture Capital Exchange at St George’s House in Windsor Castle for a debate on the issue of excluding arts and humanities from the UK government’s ‘STEM’ research agenda. The full speech, and those of other invited speakers can be found on the Culture Capital Exchange website.
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A world of worth from UK international development research

Adam Kamenetzky, Research Fellow, and Dr Saba Hinrichs, Senior Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s, discuss efforts to investigate the impact of international development research conducted at UK universities.

What is the impact of research carried out to support international development and humanitarian relief efforts? What are the social returns on investment from this research, outside of academia? And how do these non-academic benefits relate to the delivery of ‘front line’ aid?

Keen to examine these questions, we responded to a challenge from the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) to interrogate data on research impact submitted as part of the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise.

Unique in terms of its scale and setup, REF’s results dictate the allocation of approximately £1.6 billion of annual research funding across the UK’s universities. For the first time, one-fifth of the overall funding pot was determined on the basis of universities submitting case studies that described the non-academic impacts of their research (defined as any effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life’). Continue reading

Diversity of disciplines drives research impact

One of the central questions of research policy is how to organise and carry out research in order to maximise the benefits that derive from it. This question prompts heated debate. Should we prioritise basic research over applied research or vice versa? Which disciplines are most impactful, and so deserving of most funding? Are there particular disciplines that should be favoured in order to align with national priorities for industrial strategy, or societal challenges? Important new insights on these questions are being revealed from the new dataset that is available following the Research Excellence Framework (REF); nearly 7000 case studies of impact from research are now available for mining and analysis. While the dataset has some limitations, the case studies still present an unprecedented opportunity to start to answer these questions. Continue reading