Alison Ariss of the University of British Columbia (UBC) led a recent webinar for research administrators. Covering the topic of research impact, she shared insights from a pilot project at UBC on this topic.
Alison Ariss de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique (UBC) a dirigé récemment un webinaire destiné aux administrateurs de recherche. Elle y a fait connaître les enseignements à tirer d’un projet pilote qui s’est déroulé à l’UBC et dont le sujet était l’impact de la recherche.
On April 13, CARA (Canadian Association of Research Administrators) hosted a webinar on Enhancing Research Impact. This session was led by Alison Ariss, Associate Director, Research Development Officer, Office of the VP Research and International at the University of British Columbia. This session was open to CARA members and York KMb hosted and had 10 research administrative staff in attendance. The objective of the session was to create more of a clear and common understanding of what is meant by this term and to explore how research administrators working with researchers can enhance their capacity to build greater impact into projects. Alison also shared tools that research administrators can use that will support what is impact and what is not?
The session was informed by a case study at UBC, their Research Metrics and Impact project. Alison made many clear points, sharing what impacts are not when focusing on the inputs and outputs of a research project. For example, funding and infrastructure (inputs) along with publications and bibliometrics (outputs) are not impacts. Having an understanding of what is not considered ‘impact’ is very important.
Alison also shared examples of work taking place in other jurisdictions such as the UK. One interesting point, which I feel has validity, is that the collection of impact data is its own research; to capture what a research team did and how it was helpful are important processes that have a foundation in research. I would like to express thanks to Alison for her acknowledgement of the leadership of the ResearchImpact network and York University in exploring aspects of impact in research. Sessions like this, which culminated with sharing of a two-page template which UBC has created that explores – who are you; affiliations; impact summary; funding sources; additional information; and, types of impact – provide additional information and resources for research administrators and knowledge brokers in helping support the increasingly important process of determining impact from publicly funded research.
Creating space for reflection and conversations around this topic are very important. Thanks to CARA and to Alison for their time and for sharing her experiences and findings to date. As Alison articulated, there are many challenges to measuring impact of research but along with that there is an increasing opportunity and growing responsibility. Learning from good practices like this are important. Creating the space to discuss this is essential.