Friday 2 October 2009

RCUK 'Serendipity Award': a Covert Comment on Impact?

RCUK has announced the shortlist for its 'Serendipity Award'. This 'recognises entrepreneurial spirit in universities, rewarding researchers who have seen and seized unexpected opportunities for impact arising from their research.'
However, this seems to go counter to the Research Councils' current demand that researchers outline their 'Impact Plan' - up to 2 sides of A4 - when applying for funding.
By creating a 'Serendipity Award' is RCUK implying that impact cannot be predicted before the research is undertaken, that asking applicants do so is unrealistic, and that some of the best research has come from unexpected results? Surely not.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya, yes I can see your point but as part of our ACTivator programme of researcher support workshops at LJMU we stress that while you need to have a plan for impact you also need to be open to unexpected outcomes (positive and otherwise)and be prepared to build on these whenever they emerge. I suppose tis award is about being fleet of foot as a researcher - arguably a skill that needs to be encouraged more?