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Academia 2.0: challenges of impact, communication, & relevance

April 25, 2014

29 – 30 April 2014, Chancellors Hotel in Manchester

An event for Early Career Researchers in Humanities

Panel I. Communication: The ways in which research makes an impact is by reaching different audiences. Publications continue to be the main way in which academic communities communicate with each other. Indeed the historical and critical debate over how journal publications have been the main stick by which academic strength of university departments is well understood. However, equally important is the ability of a wider audience, such as nongovernmental organisations, to use research and work with researchers through different ways of communication. There is also a plethora of new and different social media outlets by which researchers can reach a wider audience. How the use of blogs, tweets, and other forms of social media can assist (as well as their limitations) researchers improve their reach and impact is an important new agenda for early career researchers.

Panel II. Challenges of impact:  Questions surrounding who will benefit from research (both academic and non-academic stakeholders), how,and it what ways that will be ensured are key considerations for all researchers today. With regards to impact on a wider non-academic audience, which has received a greater emphasis in the Research Excellence Framework, questions of impartiality and academic freedom are key criticisms. Also the ways in which data on impact can be gathered and evaluated through appropriate methods has become an important topic of discussion and debate on the measures of research influence and outcomes. 

Panel III. Relevance of academic research:  ‘Relevance’ - as the overarching question and concern facing researchers - is fundamentally about the role of the researcher and society. How is the criticism of the separation between the two entities to be confronted with and resolved? Are there instances where the separation of researcher from society is justified? And can separation still lead to societal benefits in the long-run?

This event is supported by the British Academy and The Hallsworth Endowment at the University of Manchester  


PROGRAMME for 29 April 2014

Morning Session

Chaired by Colette Fagan, Professor of Faculty Deputy Dean and Research Director of the School of Social Science, University of Manchester

11:15 – 11:30              Introduction by Jill Rubery,Professor of Comparative Employment Systems, University of Manchester Business School and British Academy Fellow


11:30 – 12:00             Building and Measuring Research Impact

Keynote presentation by Luke Georghiou, Vice-President for Research and Innovation and Professor of Science and Technology Policy and Management in the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at Manchester Business School


12:00 – 12:15              Experience of Developing a Research Impact Case

Professor Stephanie Barrientos, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester

12:15 – 12:45              Discussion

12:45 – 13:45              Lunch

Afternoon Sessions

13:45 – 14:45              Panel 1: Communication

Chaired by Emeritus Professor Philip Alexander of Post-Biblical Jewish Literature, University of Manchester

Bringing the World to the UK: value of social media, NGO collaboration & university press office

Dr Martin Scott, Lecturer in Media and Development, School of International Development, University of East Anglia


Eat, tweet, sleep, repeat: Using social media for research communications

David Girling, Lecturer and Director of Research Communication, School of International Development, University of East Anglia


Action Research with Homeworkers

Jane Tate, HomeNet, Leeds


15:00 – 16:00  Panel 2: Challenges of Impact


Chaired by Melanie Lombard, Lecturer in Global Urbanism, Global Urban Research Centre, University of Manchester

Impact after REF: Issues and Opportunities

Chris Hewson, Impact Coordinator for the School of Environment, Education, and Development, University of Manchester             

The Pitfalls and Rewards of Impact

Yaron Matras, Professor of Linguistics, University of Manchester

The conditions in which research impact is developing

Helen Gunter, Professor of Education Policy, University of Manchester


16:00 – 16:30 Coffee & tea break

16:30 – 17:30 Panel 3 on ‘Relevance’


Chaired by Stephen Hincks, Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning, University of Manchester


Is socially relevant research always responsible?

Uma Kothari, Professor of Migration and Postcolonial Studies, University of Manchester


Issues of Relevance: Learning from the 'Queen of the Sciences'

George Brooke, Rylands Professor Biblical Criticism & Exegisis, University of Manchester


The surgical gloves & the dirty hands: the role of research and researchers in society

Cecilia Wong, Professor of Spatial Planning, University of Manchester


17:30 – 19:00  Reception, Chancellors Hotel


19:00 – 21:00 Dinner, Chancellors Hotel


PROGRAMME for 30 April 2014


10:00 – 11:00 Pathways to securing policy impact


Workshop led by policy@manchester: “Engaging with select committees” with Alex Waddington from policy@manchester & Gary Hart from the parliamentary outreach service


                                               11:00 – 11:30 Coffee & tea break


11:30 – 12:30 Case study presentations on research impact & discussion


Robert Ford, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester


Joanne Tippet, Lecturer in Spatial Planning, University of Manchester


12:45 – 13:00 Evaluations


13:00 Lunch

Participants can email for registration