Impact of Social Sciences – So you want to make an impact? Some practical suggestions for early-career researchers
juliencolomb's bookmarks 2018-08-08
"One way for researchers to meet the growing requirement to demonstrate that their work has had an impact is by evidencing the degree to which it has influenced public policy. But for many early-career researchers, the practicalities of how to successfully influence policy processes can be elusive, a problem often compounded by job insecurity or by having reputation and professional networks that are still in development. Megan Evans and Chris Cvitanovic provide some practical tips and suggestions that can help to empower ECRs to create their own pathways to impact that best suit their individual goals, circumstances, interests, and strengths.
More and more, scientists are being asked to demonstrate how their research can have “impact”– whether it be a change in policy, in professional practice, or some other kind of positive influence on society as a result of scientific research. Research funding bodies in the UK, Australia and elsewhere are also now beginning to evaluate research based on its potential for societal impact. So while many scientists are already passionate about their work and its potential to lead to better health, educational, environmental, or socioeconomic outcomes, it can be difficult to know how to begin navigating so-called “science-policy interfaces” that are often complex, political, and value-laden.
From our own experience as early-career researchers (ECRs), we realised that the practicalities of how to successfully influence policy processes can be particularly elusive to ECRs. Much of the public policy literature is dense and inaccessible to researchers without training in the policy sciences, and also tends to overlook key challenges that are often unique to ECRs: job insecurity, extreme mobility, and reputation and professional networks that are still in development. Further, one person’s model of achieving “impact” (whatever that may be) may not be relevant, accessible, or of value to another, so we need to consider diverse pathways to impact...."
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