Eleven ARIs have been published so far and there are more in the pipeline. They are intended as a means to engage academia in dialogue around the research questions, in order for policy development and decision making to be informed by the best available scientific evidence, research and expertise. The ARIs each include contact details, for academics and researchers who wish to communicate with the originating departments about their contents.
ARI aim to improve how government departments:
align scientific and research evidence from academia with policy development and decision-making
engage with researchers
access stronger policy evidence bases at better value for money
The key message was that the UK Parliament want academics and the research community to engagewith them. They really really want to hear from YOU! This is great news as it could help you get your research into Parliament and make an impact on policy.
Here are their top tips:
The UK Parliament Universities Team have created a new Research Impact and Parliament webpage which is full of contact details and
how to guides. Visit this page and explore all the links and resources.
Be active on twitter. Tweet about your research and follow @POST_UK and @YourUKParl.
Blog about your research. Write for informed, interested non-experts. This will make it easier for the research staff at UK Parliament to digest the information and recognise its value in meeting their specific needs and make it more likely that they will interact with you.
Sign up for email updates or follow relevant select committees on Twitter
If you respond to requests for evidence or make contact with Parliamentary staff, ensure you are writing for informed, interested, non-experts. Be concise, don’t use jargon and don’t expect them to already know about your expertise or research. When setting out your academic expertise (beyond answering the question asked or point of knowledge you are putting forward) link to your profile or additional pdf documents. This will ensure that the key message is not lost. Committees are cross-party, and you are most likely to be listened to if you are objective and do not (even unintentionally) appear to take a political side.
If you find out about an inquiry too late, yet think you have something valuable to say, email and ask if you can still submit.
Use the Parliament website to research which MPs, Lords, Parliamentary staff or committees will be interested in your research and make contact with them.
All staff with significant responsibility for research are returned to REF provided they are independent researchers. As expected, institutions not going with 100% submission will be able to determine the criteria for identifying staff with significant responsibility. My reading of the guidance is that it will be possible to consider different criteria for different UoAs, although the rationale for all decisions will need to be captured in the Code of Practice (guidance summer 2018, provisional submission spring 2019). Further guidance on significant responsibility criteria (determined in conjunction with main panels) will form part of the Guidance on submissions/Panel criteria – the final versions of which will not be available until January 2019.
Independent researcher criteria will build on REF 2014 definition and will be worked on with the main panels.
ORCID strongly encouraged by not mandated.
Average number of outputs is 2.5 per FTE submitted.
Minimum of one, maximum of 5 outputs per member of staff (this is a soft 5 with no limit on co-authored papers). Staff can be returned with zero outputs through an individual circumstances process. The unit of assessment can also make case for ‘unit circumstances’ to reduce the overall number of outputs required.
Impact case studies will be 2 for up to 15 FTE, then one for each additional 15 FTE (up to 105 FTE when one additional per 50 FTE)
Staff census date is 31 July 2020. Hefce intend to work with HESA ‘to enable close alignment between the information collected and the staff record and the submission requirements of REF.
Output portability is the simplified model (i.e. outputs can be returned at current and previous institution – with some caveats). (85% of the 157 respondents supported this model).
The original Open Access requirement (i.e. deposit within 3 months of date of acceptance) will be implemented from April 2018, although there will be the opportunity to record exceptions when deposit is 3 months after publication.
As you have no doubt heard, the Higher Education Funding Council for England has launched a consultation on the next Research Excellence Framework. This includes proposals intended to streamline the REF process and make it less burdensome for UK universities whilst maintaining and improving incentives for research excellence. It includes recommendations relating to: the submission of staff and outputs, the approach to the assessment of impact, and the introduction of an institutional level assessment.
Northumbria University is preparing a response and would like to give the ECR community an opportunity to feed into this. We are holding an event on Tuesday 14th February from 1.00-2.30 in room 209, Sutherland Building, City Campus. If you are able to attend, please sign up on this doodle poll to reserve your place: http://doodle.com/poll/fdkxmmr7mvaw8mee
Responses to the consultation must be submitted by midday on Friday 17 March 2017. Full details of the consultation can be found on the HEFCE website here.
Three workshops are being offered by the Participatory Research Hub for those interested in finding out more about this way of researching in collaboration. The workshops are open to those new to and established as researchers in universities, the voluntary and public sectors, communities and activists. Participatory research is an excellent route to research impact and one of the courses focusses on ways to involve policy-makers and practitioners in research that helps to develop policy and practice.
The three courses, all to be held at the Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan’s College, Durham University are:
Participatory Action Research 1: Introduction to PAR, 3rd February 2017
Participatory Action Research 2: Embedding participation in research practice, 3 March 2017
Developing Policy and Practice through Participatory Research, 15 May 2017