Just Announced

The Great Debate – This House Believes That Funders Should Remove the Impact Sections From Their Application Forms

In January 2020, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom that directs research and innovation funding, confirmed its intention that a separate impact statement will no longer be required for UKRI funding schemes. Known as Pathways to Impact, the statements were introduced to encourage researchers to consider in greater depth how their research may make a difference, and demonstrate when applying for research funding how they plan to achieve impact through their work. More than a decade after its introduction, the feeling is that the research and innovation landscape has changed sufficiently that the requirement for researchers to state their intended impact in a standalone section on the funding application form is no longer needed. But is that the correct decision and should other funders follow suit? This session brings together a panel of experts to explore both sides of the debate and invites delegates to share their experiences and opinions on the road ahead for assessing potential impact at the application stage.

Please note the speakers are not speaking on behalf of their organisation and may be deliberately provocative in the interest of a lively debate

Moderator Shaun Leamon (Health Foundation); ‘Chair’ Professor Jonathan Grant (Kings College London), ‘Proposer’ Ian Viney (Medical Research Council), ‘Opposer’ Jude Fransmen (Open University)

Takes Place

Friday 26 February |


Speaker Moderator

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Shaun Leamon

Shaun Leamon is a research manager with over 15 years of experience in the design, commissioning and evaluation of research and grant programs to inform health and care practice and policy. Shaun currently works at the Health Foundation (https://www.health.org.uk/), where he is responsible for a number of large infrastructure grants designed to support a greater use of research knowledge and evidence in health and social care, and support the translation of evidence into policy and practice. Shaun also leads the Health Foundation’s Research Strategy and Operating Framework, designed to ensure the research funded by the Foundation is catalytic, of the highest quality, and adds value and impact by supporting a vibrant and flourishing research culture. Shaun sits on a number of UK advisory groups working in the field of research on research and is a member of a number of professional associations, including the UK Evaluation Society, the Charity Evaluation Working Group and the Association of Research Managers and Administrators.


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Jude Fransman

Jude Fransman has an interdisciplinary background spanning international development, education and science and technology studies.  She holds an Honorary Fellowship at the Open University’s Institute of Education and is the Convenor of the Rethinking Research Collaborative; an international network of networks committed to exploring effective, equitable and environmental research collaboration through complex consortia. Previously, she worked for the UCL-Institute of Education, the Institute of Development Studies, the OECD, UNESCO and ActionAid International. Her research focuses on the politics of knowledge for global development and she advises a range of stakeholders including international NGOs, the media, research funders and policy makers.

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Jonathan Grant

Jonathan Grant is professor of public policy at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, and founding director of Different Angles, a consultancy that focuses on the impact of universities and research. He was formerly Vice President & Vice Principal (Service) at King’s. Service is King’s award-winning and unique commitment to social responsibility and covers a range of activities including social reform, research impact, service-led learning, volunteering, and environment sustainability. Jonathan’s main research interests are in biomedical and health R&D policy, research impact assessment, the use of research and evidence in policy and decision-taking, and the social purpose of universities in the 21st century. Jonathan’s new book, The New Power University. The social purpose of higher education in the 21st Century, will be published by Pearson in March 2021.

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Dr Ian Viney

Dr Ian Viney MBE, MRC Director of Strategic Evaluation and Impact has led the evaluation and analysis team at the Medical Research Council since 2007. The MRC aims to take evidence-informed decisions, supported by the best information available, and its analysis team focuses on leveraging in house and external quantitative and qualitative evidence to evaluate research programmes and inform strategy development.  The team recently completed a large evaluation of the last ten years of MRC translational research (https://mrc.ukri.org/publications/browse/10-year-translation-research-evaluation-report-2019/) and is actively working with colleagues across UK Research and Innovation councils and with academic teams and funders in the UK and internationally.

Visit the MRC website and read about the progress and productivity of MRC research http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Achievementsimpact/Outputsoutcomes/index.htm