Knowledge Exchange and Impact
Engaging Scottish Local
Authorities Workshop
Glasgow, 11 June 2010
Dr Fiona Armstrong
The context – ESRC Strategic Plan 2009-14
Knowledge exchange and impact through
Pathways to Impact
Assessing Impact
Social Science lies at the heart of
understanding and tackling the
complex challenges facing society
ESRC Strategic Plan 2009-14
‘The ESRC expects that all the research it funds will be high quality
and of scholarly distinction, but we are also committed to increasing
its non academic impact, and benefit to the UK in public policy,
economic prosperity, culture, and quality of life… These include the
close engagement with potential research users before, during and
after the research process, and a flow of people between research
and the worlds of policy and practice’.
Impact is not new….
The ESRC’s role, as incorporated by Royal Charter (1994) is:
To promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and
applied research and related postgraduate training in the social sciences;
To advance knowledge and provide trained social scientists who meet the
needs of users and beneficiaries, thereby contributing to the economic
competitiveness of the United Kingdom, the effectiveness of public services
and policy, and the quality of life;
To provide advice on, and disseminate, knowledge; and promote public
understanding of the social sciences.
The idea stage - case study
The idea – to make a difference to policing
Impact case study – controlling without
English football fans were in the headlines at the
2004 UEFA European Championships in
Albufiera, when over 50 English people were
arrested following violent confrontations with the
Less well known, however, is that disorder at
match venues during the competition was virtually
non-existent – the result of a ‘low profile’ approach
to policing recommended by an ESRC-funded UK
researcher, and now being adopted by police in
the UK and across Europe.
ESRC Strategic Plan 2009-14
The ESRC will aim to support and maximise its impact
 World class social science research
 Skilled people
 World class infrastructure
 International leadership
 Partnerships
ESRC Strategic Plan 2009-14
Challenges for Social Science
RCUK Framework
 Global Economic Performance, Policy
and Management
 Environment, Energy and Resilience
 Security, Conflict and Justice
 Social Diversity and Population
Productive Economy
Healthy Society
 Health and Wellbeing
Sustainable World
 New Technology, Innovation and Skills
 Understanding Individual Behaviour
Knowledge Exchange and Impact
 Knowledge exchange and impact generation – important priority in
age of austerity – doing more with less
 Knowledge exchange can support significant economic and societal
impact i.e. environment, public health and quality of life
• Encourage high levels of engagement between academia and key
priority sectors (public, private and third sectors)
• Translation and application of research into innovation and policy
 Need to increase knowledge exchange and collaboration to get
research into policy and practice
 Make an impact
Benefits of Knowledge Exchange
Academic Perspective:
 Gain an understanding of the needs and priorities of potential research
 Inform academic research
 Increase the prospects of academic research being applied and generating
a wider impact
 Apply evidence-based knowledge and expertise to important policies
Research User Perspective:
 Research-informed evidence to develop and review policy and practice
 Access to innovative ideas and expertise
 Add value and enhance organisational creativity, performance and
productivity through collaborations and partnerships
 Gain access to collaborative funding
Defining impact
 Instrumental
 Influencing the development of policy practice or service provision
 Shaping behaviour
 Altering legislation
 Conceptual
 Contributing to our understanding of the above
 Reframing debates
 Capacity-building
 Technical/professional skills development
Defining impact … it can be more subtle
 Cultural change
 Increased willingness to engage in knowledge exchange activities – by
individuals, and/or institutions
 Changed mindsets
 Enduring connectivity
 Establishment of enduring academic / non-academic relationships –
indicator of potential future achievements or impacts
 Both are a crucial stepping stone for other types of impact
Meagher, L. 2009 “Impact Evaluation of People at the Centre of Communication and Information Technologies (PACCIT) Programme
Generating impact: co-production
 Involving users at all stages of the research;
 Well-planned user-engagement and knowledge
exchange strategies;
 Co-production of knowledge – scope for generating
higher impact;
 Portfolios of research activity that build reputations
with research users;
Generating impact: relationships
Key factors identified for generating impact include:
 Established relationships and networks with user
 Where appropriate, the involvement of intermediaries
and knowledge broker as translators, amplifiers,
network providers, etc
 Good infrastructure and management support;
ESRC - roles and responsibilities
Three distinctive roles relating to impact:
 Leadership
 Impact creation and delivery
 Impact identification and measurement
and new
Impact creation and
Impact identification and
support and
Sustainable World
Healthy Society
Productive Economy
Security, Conflict and
Environment, Energy
and resilience
Health and wellbeing
Social Diversity and
Population Dynamics
New technology,
Innovation and Skills
Global economic
performance, policy and
Individual Behaviour
User Engagement and
Knowledge Exchange
Shaped by opportunities from our
portfolio, responsive to user needs,
delivering impact
Third Sector - Local Government – Business – Public Sector – Devolved Administrations
Third Sector Engagement Strategy
The ESRC recognises the growing importance of the third sector and
through extensive consultation has developed an engagement
strategy and portfolio of third sector activity.
The ESRC has a strategic commitment to:
 Enhance and develop the third sector evidence base with, for and
on the third sector
 Build the research expertise and capacity of the third sector for
conducting and utilising relevant research resources and data
 Create links and partnerships between academia, policy-makers
and the third sector (through a range of mechanisms) to generate
significant impact(s) on policy and practice
Business Engagement Strategy
VISION The ESRC will act as the lead RCUK Strategic Partner to business in areas of innovation, skills and
business models and in key priority sectors, to ensure maximum impact of our world-class social science base.
MISSION In doing this the ESRC will ensure to develop and sustain partnerships with business sector
stakeholders to influence and maximise the impact of ESRC’s research and; will facilitate the application and coproduction of knowledge.
STRATEGIC AIMS are driven by ESRC’s principles of quality, impact and independence.
1). Ensure that the broad business
sector is able to fully exploit the
evidence base in the cross-cutting
areas of innovation, skills and
new business models to ensure
maximum impact on performance
and sustainable economic growth
2). Lead engagement with the three
economically-important sectors of
Financial Services, Retail and
Sport Leisure and Tourism
to secure maximum impact of the
Research Councils' portfolio of
research and skills on those
business sectors.
3). Maximise the impact upon
business of ESRC investments and
existing strategic partnerships with
Government, the Third Sector, the
Technology Strategy Board, and
other Research Councils
Underpinning strategic delivery objective: Given the complexity of the business sector and the need to focus
our resource, delivering impact is often best achieved and maximised through collaboration with consultants
and business intermediaries which underpins the delivery of our strategic objectives
Central and Local Government
Engage with local Authorities through LARCI – the Local Authorities
and Research Councils’ Initiative
Engage with Central Government through “concordat” relationships
with approx. 20 Government Departments
Annual meetings to share strategic priorities
Programme of partnered opportunities, e.g. public sector placements,
public policy seminars
ESRC approach recognised in the CST report on “How Academia and
Government can Work Together”
ESRC Opportunities in relation to the RCUK
Knowledge Exchange Pillars
People and
and Development
Capacity Building Clusters
CASE Studentships
Knowledge Transfer
RCUK Business Plan
Responsive Mode
Doctoral Training Centres
and Units
Public , Third and
Business Sector
Follow-on Fund
Government Collaborative
Student internships
Public Policy Seminars
Business Engagement
Opportunities scheme
Knowledge Exchange and Impact Generation
Capacity Building
Clusters – Business
and Third Sector
A life course approach
Placement Fellowship –
Business Public and Third
Sector Schemes
Follow-on Funding
Student Internships
Additional Opportunities and Resources
Collaborative Research
Seminar and Workshops
Publications and Electronic Resources
Knowledge Transfer Training and Development
Assessing impact
 ESRC is exploring new methods for assessing the
impact of research on policy makers and practitioners
 Taking Stock 2009 Report:
 Dissemination does not equal impact! Need to capture
evidence of application by users
 Assessment methods should seek to capture the wider
diversity of impacts, and the processes through which
impact occurs
To summarise
 Impact through Partnerships is key
 Important for ESRC to develop strategic partnerships, in order to
act as knowledge broker and support impact from our portfolio
 Universities should consider their role in developing their own
strategic partnerships to support the impact agenda
 ESRC has other opportunities for Knowledge Exchange
 Specific schemes, but also can act in the capacity as a knowledge
 Embedding “impact” is important
Important to consider across the proposal lifecycle from inception to
Thank you
For further information:
ESRC Knowledge Transfer Guide:
ESRC Knowledge Transfer Opportunities:
[email protected]

Knowledge Exchange and Impact