Jackie Reynolds – Research Impact Manager
Jackie has been the Research Impact Manager at Staffordshire University since March 2018.
“Historically Staffordshire University has not had a very strong research culture which has, in turn, limited our research impact. However, we were focused on our role as a civic university long before it became fashionable! We are now very committed to building our research culture and so the challenge that I see is one of harnessing all of the connections and the enthusiasm to begin to really build a stronger impact culture too.”
We are known as the Connected University, with really strong links to communities and stakeholders. For us, impact is about much more than just REF. My colleague Nicola Gratton is Lead for Civic Engagement and Evaluation and does amazing work building relationships with university partners, supporting teams of community researchers, and providing leadership in developing a strategically embedded ‘Connected Communities Framework’.
There is always a strong impact theme at our research events, such as our annual Research Conferences. We also do a lot of public engagement activities and much of our research is often highly participatory, so there are different layers of impact. The events can provide great opportunities to share and celebrate impactful research.
We have regular training opportunities for our researchers, both internally and externally led. In particular, we had a training session from Prof. Mark Reed (Fast Track Impact) that focused specifically on developing our impact culture. We have also had training for Doctoral researchers, to encourage them to think about collecting evidence of impact from the very start of their careers.
Work Opportunities and Funding
We offer paid work opportunities to our Doctoral researchers working as Impact Case Study Research Assistants. These roles are funded by the University’s Strategic Investment Fund and are offered through Unitemps agency. The RAs have also benefitted from additional training and developing a more in-depth understanding of the impact agenda as well as the importance of collecting strong evidence as you go!
Researchers working on impact case studies are able to apply for impact acceleration funding. These are small awards, and are supported by both HEIF funding and Strategic Investment funding.”
Impact is integrated into the conferment criteria for colleagues applying for Associate Professor and Professorships. There is also an annual ‘Research with Impact’ award aimed at celebrating staff success.
All of our researchers are offered the Vertigo Ventures e-learning introductory course. In addition, when they register for VV-IT, they have an initial training session on how to use the system, which can also aid in their general understanding of ‘impact’. The aim is that ImpactTracker will help colleagues to further integrate planning and evidencing impact into their day-to-day activities. The increasing focus within the system on the UN Sustainable Development Goals will also assist us in further developing our impact strategy.