Insights from an EPSRC Impact Workshop

In this post, Rosie Maccagnano, UK Research Funding Manager, shares key insights and resources from a recent EPSRC workshop about research impact. 

The EPSRC team recently paid a virtual visit to Scotland East to deliver a workshop on research impact, in partnership with the University’s Edinburgh Research Office, St Andrews and Heriot Watt universities.

The session was primarily aimed at early career researchers working in engineering and physical sciences research areasIt focussed on peer learning and sharing of knowledge, with the opportunity for participants to discuss and share experiences on:

  • The value and importance of impact
  • Different types of impact
  • Different routes to impact
  • What researchers can do to increase impact, and embed it in their research activities

View the EPSRC workshop presentation slides (University of Edinburgh access only). 

During the session, it was clear that similar topics emerged during discussions between participants.  Key insights from these discussions included:

How do I address any negative impact when writing my research proposal?

  • don’t try to hide any negative impact;
  • explain why it might be considered negative;
  • address any risks with mitigating actions.

What if my proposed research doesn’t have immediate impact?

  • discuss with colleagues to widen possible or potential impact;
  • highlight research impact as furthering academic knowledge, with potential for future impact.

How do I best engage with the social science aspect of my proposed research?

  • consider the question ‘how will this impact on people?’;
  • talk to colleagues for a different perspective;
  • aim to make contact and widen your links across the University of Edinburgh’s diverse research disciplines.

University of Edinburgh Post-Workshop Session

Following on from this workshop, we ran a second workshop with College of Science & Engineering Dean of Research Andy Mount for University of Edinburgh participants to follow up on discussions.

The session also featured Prof Dusan Uhrain, Chemistry Impact Champion who introduced participants to developing impact for the Research Excellence Framework exercise, and explained how impact is supported within Schools, sharing with participants Chemistry’s impact strategy.

View the presentation slides (University of Edinburgh access only)

A presentation from Ian Hatch (Business Development Manager, Edinburgh Innovations) highlighted how the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account promotes research outcomes, enabling exposure to industry and the public sector, with the aim of developing strategic partnerships.  A case study was presented showing the pathway from an initial introductory meeting with an industry contact, through to the University collaborating with the company and other HEIs towards the development of an Innovation Campus.

View presentation slides (University of Edinburgh access only)

Rosie Maccagnano (UK Research Funding Manager, Edinburgh Research Office) also explained the basics of costing impact into research grants, and highlighting knowledge exchange and impact resources available to University colleagues.

View ERO Knowledge Exchange and Impact information and resources are on our website

View ERO resources on how to build impact into your research (SharePoint online)  (University of Edinburgh access only).

Find your Research Funding Specialist – Edinburgh Research Office website.

Further information and resources

Changes to Pathways to Impact – EPSRC website (ukri.org)

FastTrack Impact: An academic consultancy company providing a range of free resources on impact. ​

Edinburgh Innovation’s business development team – how they can assist and who to contact.​

 

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