Topic 3.2.1: Identify the structural barriers that Impact Evaluation creates for Early Career Investigators

By 20 July 2018
Researcher`s institution:
Host institution: The University of Porto, School of Criminology – Faculty of Law of (Portugal)
Period of stsm:
Funds approved:

Topic: The creation of societal impact from research activities is an increasingly important component of what is considered to be good science, and increasing emphasis is being placed in scientific training upon encouraging early career investigators to be more positively oriented towards impact generation. But at the same time ECIs are subject to a wide range of pressures that may serve to undermine the value of impact to them as they develop their careers. This may come through a focus on very limited kinds of impacts such as creation of spin-off companies or patents, institutional or systemic progression mechanisms in which impact is invisible with reference to teaching and research, or simply the absence of time to create meaningful impacts. Better equipping ECIs to create impact requires as much addressing these structural pressures as in fine-tuning impact evaluations, and this STSM will participate in a pilot study seeking to identify the top level dimensions of contextual issues for ECIs seeking to create impact generation.

Objectives: This STSM aims to advance the understanding of the contextual conditions of SSH societal impact creation (Task 1 of WG2) as well as to the work of the focus groups within the ENRESSH Special Interest Group for Early Career Investigators (SIG ECI). WG2 and SIG ECI collectively seek to mobilise a debate on the structural conditions of ECIs in SSH and the creation of societal impact, and this STSM is a first step towards identifying the structural barriers that ECIs face in creating societal impact. This STSM builds on discussions emerging in the Training School in Zagreb (February 2018) as well as antecedent work within the focus groups. In practical terms, the STSM will analyse a pilot questionnaire completed by a sample of ECIs in Autumn 2018 and produce as its final output a categorisation of the levels and sectors within which the key barriers emerge for impact generation by ECIs.

Special criteria for this STSM: the applicant has knowledge of the theories, practices and policies for the stimulation of societal impact from SSH research activities. The applicant must also have knowledge of academic careers and science systems or be willing to learn that skill

Results: The proposed STSM will provide an empirical analysis to deepen the initial findings on impacts and career development emerging the focus groups within SIG ECI. This will result in co-authored publications between host, STSM candidate, as well as the WG2 leadership team Paul Benneworth, Reetta Muhonen and Julia Olmos-Peñuela (who will be involved in distancesupervision).

Practical details:

Working group: WG2 (Societal Impact of SSH Research)
Duration and timing: between 2 weeks and 2 months, Jan-Feb 2019 Location: School of Criminology, University of Porto, Portugal. Contact: Rita Faria