Opening submission for CERCA Research Impact Assessment 2024

The presentation period for the impact narratives of the CERCA centres runs from May 15 to July 15.

Since 2019, and because of the political commitment to define a global impact strategy in research as set out in the Science Law of the Generalitat de Catalunya, CERCA has been working and training the centres to advance in this field, which must demonstrate and give visibility to the demonstrable benefits of research in the real world, outside the academic field.

The project, guided initially by Julie Bayley, director of Research Impact Development at the University of Lincoln, has the support of a national and international advisory board. Its current members are Paula Adam (AQUAS), Jane Millar (Univ. of Bath), David Phipps (Univ. of Toronto), Susan Renoe (Univ. of Missouri), Miguel Sierra (INIA), Esther De Smet (Ghent University) and Anne-Maree Dowd (CSIRO).

Among other materials, there is a Glossary of Research Impact Terminology which includes the terminology most broadly used in both the European and the Anglo-Saxon countries, and it is intended to provide a theoretical common ground for the narratives submitted to RIA 2024.

Also, a panel member of international and local experts will evaluate each narrative, summarizing the main strengths and weaknesses.

Impact of research and its probable effects or benefits in the real world

The evaluation of impact is becoming relevant within all research Systems, as the British REF, and has also a prominent importance in european programs.

According to our definition. Impact of research are probable effects or benefits of the research in the ‘real world’ (e.g. economy, society, culture, environment and the planet), beyond academia.

  • Impact can arise at any time, any location and be of any type.
  • Impacts may be most easily thought of as research leading to something being increased (e.g. efficiency, effectiveness, well-being, engagement access, profit, skills, increases), reduced (e.g. mortality, waste, risk, cost, staff turnover, stress, crime), stopping something (e.g. dangerous practice) or preventing something (e.g. the deterioration of heritage sites).
  • Impact is corroborated by any quantitative or qualitative evidence that shows these real-world changes.
  • As impact denotes change in the real world, it cannot be indicated in terms of academic interest, reputation, citations or publications in journals.
  • Impact can arise from research findings (new knowledge) or from research processes (i.e. the practice of research acts as a catalyst for change).