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  1. Framework for Research Impact

University Framework for Achieving Impact from Research and Enterprise

Extracts from City, University of London Strategic Plan 2012-2016:

Maximising the impact and relevance of our work in ways that are useful to the wider economy, cultural life, public services and policy-making is at the heart of what we do.

We will produce research that is recognised throughout the world for its relevance to contemporary intellectual challenges and its influence on the future research agenda.

We will develop our profitable enterprise activity through high quality consultancy, continuing professional development programmes and the commercialisation of our intellectual property.

We will ensure that our intellectual property is used for the greatest social and economic benefit. We will do so by developing our existing successes in working with industry and commerce to realise the commercialisation of our intellectual property and by continuing to bid for research funding which promotes impact, in particular through follow-on initiatives.

The nature of impact from research

Impact from research can be considered within two key domains:

  • Within the academic discipline, by making a contribution to knowledge through the development of new ideas and insights. This may in turn contribute to the advancement of knowledge in other academic disciplines or to the development of research in areas which span the traditional disciplines.
  • Through the application or dissemination of the outcomes of research beyond academia. This may be achieved directly by the author of the research either individually or in partnership with others, or through the research outcomes being taken up by others independently of the author. Impact from research in this domain may include the development of new products or processes, influencing policy and practice in government, the professions and other organisations, and the dissemination of research to a wider, non-academic audience through continuing professional development, activities to foster public engagement with research and other forms of communication.

It is expected that all research undertaken by City's academic and research staff should aim to achieve impact in one or both of these domains. It is not expected that all research undertaken within the institution will achieve impact outside academia, although the institution's commitment to academic excellence focused on business and the professions means that a significant proportion of the work carried out will be of direct relevance to wider society. The UK research assessment process (the Research Excellence Framework) considers both impact within the academic discipline, through academic publication, and impact on wider society, through case studies which describe how research outcomes have benefited others.

It is recognised that the nature of research impact outside academia varies widely across discipline areas. The approach to supporting and assessing impact in each School will therefore be tailored to the capacity for impact of the research it undertakes, within the overall framework set by City, and in accordance with agreed aims both for the School and for individual members of staff. Impact beyond academia can also be achieved through enterprise activities which are independent of staff research.

Support for impact from research

City is committed to supporting its staff in the achievement of impact in the following ways:

  1. Consideration of the potential for impact from research, both within and outside academia, in the formulation and review of research plans at School and research group levels.
  2. Consideration of the potential for impact from the research of individual members of staff, both during the recruitment process and subsequently through the probation, appraisal and promotion procedures. Staff engagement in activity which supports impact from research will be facilitated through workload management processes which recognise and provide time for such activity where it is in line with institution and School strategy.
  3. Addressing the potential for impact from research in proposals for funding. The institution Research Office will assist Principal Investigators in the formulation of proposals to meet funder requirements for impact, including any eligible costs to realise impact during the life of the project, and by planning for impact at the research proposal stage will also encourage and support later applications for follow-on and equivalent funding.
  4. Encouraging and enabling research activities which facilitate the co-production and application of knowledge beyond the institution and thereby generate impact, including:
    -    collaborative or commissioned/contract research projects with companies, government bodies and other organisations and with individual research users;
    -    the use of Innovation Vouchers and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships both as ways of developing relationships with businesses and other users of knowledge and as research projects in their own right;
    -    movement of staff between City and industry, business and other related sectors through staff exchanges, secondments or industrial fellowships.
  5. Encouraging and enabling staff to use research results in the provision of consultancy services to companies, government bodies and other types of organisation.
  6. Identification and provision of resources to achieve impact from research, including:

    (a)    Dissemination of research
    -    Advice to researchers through their School on the best form of publication for their work, including consideration of options both for the best academic journal or other academic publishing outlet for their work and, where appropriate, for re-publication to a practitioner audience.
    -    Publication through City Research Online of the full text of research publications, with support for copyright and Google indexing.
    -    Support through Marketing for coverage of research achievements through press releases, Spotlight on Research items and other promotional material.
    -    Support for wider public engagement activity.
    -    Enabling access to City research expertise to potential academic and business partners and the media through the website, including staff profiles and an expertise database.

    (b)    Knowledge and Technology Transfer support through the City Research and Enterprise Offices to plan and realise impact both in the preparation of proposals and throughout research projects (both internally or externally funded)
    -    Support for the use of Innovation Vouchers, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and other knowledge transfer schemes
    -    Advice on intellectual property issues when a contract is being drawn up for collaborative research or advisory activity.
    -    Support for follow-on funding applications and other proof of concept fund-raising where commercial potential for application of the research has been identified.
    -    Intellectual property protection including advice on patenting, copyright and related issues, and funding and management of patent applications where protection is decided to be a desirable route.
    -    Support for commercialisation, developing research outputs towards a prototype or market-ready service or process, including the provision of commercialisation resource through the London City Incubator.
    -    Support for the identification of potential licensees and negotiation of licences to intellectual property.
    -    Support for the development and governance of spin-out companies where this is identified as the most appropriate route to market.

    (c)    Development and training
    -    Raising awareness amongst staff at all levels of the importance of research impact.
    -    Provision of skills training for academic and research staff to support impact activity from public engagement through to the commercialisation of research.
    -    Provision of training and support for doctoral students to enable them to understand the importance of research impact and to develop skills to enhance the impact of their research and to equip them in the workplace post-graduation.