By Katie Brockwell and Kristy Evers
Why is Impact Reporting Important?
Many research organisations focus their mission statements on elements of transformation or responding to key local, regional, or global challenges (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goals) with the aim to ultimately work towards making the world a better place. Reporting on impact is an increasingly important way that universities can ensure that these missions are being addressed. Beyond this, a student’s choice of university can be influenced by the ways in which a university is addressing key global challenges, as well as how the institution can then help students respond to them.
The Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings (a global university performance table based upon universities’ research impact) moves away from assessing universities on their research output, and instead focuses on the impact universities are having on some of the world’s most pressing issues. Resources such as this, could therefore assist students in the process of choosing their university. Therefore, the performance and capability of universities in their impact reporting is crucial and can be used as effective promotional materials to attract potential students.
Impact is increasingly a key factor when applying for and receiving research funding as many funding bodies want to see how universities and researchers are considering impact within their research projects. In addition, the reporting of impact can also be required by funding bodies (such as the Government and higher level institutions) to showcase the return on investment, and to indicate the level of impact that has been achieved. Internally, reporting impact can inform long-term decision making by providing an oversight into the research being undertaken. This enables universities to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas where further investment is required. It is an opportunity for academics to showcase their work, either in relation to impact case studies, knowledge exchange activities, or progression on grants.
The Importance of Review Processes in Impact Reporting
Conducting internal impact reviews is a crucial process within impact reporting as it helps to identify the progress and quality of reporting as well as providing an oversight of impact activity carried out at the university within research departments. Internal impact reviews can be particularly useful when submitting impact narratives to funding bodies and national impact assessments (such as REF2021), as it provides an opportunity to critically evaluate and highlight areas for improvement to develop and strengthen impact case studies further. In addition, internal impact reviews can also be useful processes when gathering organisation-wide data, for example, when submitting data to ranking systems like the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings.
How Vertigo Ventures Can Help You
At Vertigo Ventures we help our clients meet their organisation’s missions by making it easier to report and review their organisational impact. Our standalone system, VV-Impact Reviewer (VV-IR) assists research organisations with their internal and external impact reviews by analysing, assessing and strengthening their impact narratives.
This unique tool is designed to automate and manage institutional processes for impact reviewing and to assess impact narratives. One way of using the tool could be to assess the status of impact case studies before submission to national assessments.
VV-IR enables the reviewing process to be done remotely, online and at the reviewers convenience, whilst also providing the following benefits:
- A straightforward feedback process to schedule, guide and enable (remote) reviewers to provide scores, comments and overall commentary (such as strengths, weaknesses and improvements) for different sections. In addition, the tool has an option for a customisable review matrix to assist and tailor the process to meet institutional needs.
- For the central team, it significantly reduces the administrative burden of managing feedback from multiple reviewers by providing feedback in one place, displaying scoring analytics in easy to read graphs.
- Feedback can also be moderated to provide consistency across the portfolio, before feeding back to project owners and impact leads.
VV-IR enables the provision of high quality feedback to track, develop and strengthen impact narratives, including (but not limited to) REF2021 Impact Case Studies.
To find out more about our VV-Impact Reviewer product, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.