It’s a good time to reflect on how research can best connect with society, says Julie Bayley.
Impact—the provable benefits of research in the ‘real world’—has become an integral part of research life, and of universities’ reputations and finances. Whether it’s the core of a person’s job or a more pervasive feature of what universities do, as a sector we’ve become accustomed to expectations around generating and showcasing the societal effects of our studies.
On the surface, the research sector, particularly in the UK, has impact cracked. Universities employ comparatively high numbers of impact-focused staff, professional communities have emerged, and cottage-industry approaches have developed into sophisticated strategies for information management.