Looking at NIHR’s research through the lens of impact

This post originally appeared on the NIHR website.

By Adam Kamenetzky

As people gather for the 2017 Health and Care Innovation Expo, Adam Kamenetzky reflects on how the ‘impact agenda’ provides a sophisticated opportunity to understand how research benefits society.

I’m not going to lie… As part of the team that pulled together 100 stories highlighting NIHR’s achievements for its 10th anniversary last year, I had a few late nights. Colleagues and I pored over content both lay and scientific, written up for websites, policy briefings, reports, pamphlets, and (of course) journals. We synthesised, evidenced, cross-referenced, edited, tagged and indexed examples from a pool of over 200 suggestions; crowd-sourced from NIHR communication professionals, senior managers, and researchers and healthcare practitioners themselves. Sleep notwithstanding, we ended up with both bite-sized and full-length versions of what we called an ‘impact synthesis’ – a centuplicate compendium of benefits delivered through NIHR’s support of health and care research. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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