An interesting comment piece in Research Fortnight today. Don't worry about Impact in the REF, it suggests; sure, we should hold out for 15% rather than 25%, but the really worry is Impact at the Research Councils. Whilst assessment of 'Impact Plans' has been somewhat cursory up until now, there are signs of a change ahead.
'Interpreting signals from government ministers, the research councils have been rapidly increasing the resources they dedicate to programmes that generate impact,' says the article, citing the EPSRC's move to increase its commercialisation spend by £4m over the past 4 years. In addition David Lammy, HE minister, has said that the goverment will be taking a more 'strategic approach', and will “provide funds for the projects with the most tangible economic benefits”.
As the article concludes, 'suddenly those innocuous impact statements on grant applications look like less of a waste of time.'