Understanding impact from a social science perspective: critical reflections on impact and ESRC

Wednesday March 21 2018

5:30 PM – 8:30 PM GMT

Geoffrey Manton Building Lecture Theatre 2

Manchester

M15 6LL

Since as far back as the 1990s social scientists seeking funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have been encouraged to reflect on possible impacts ‘upstream’ in the developmental process, and to regard ‘impact’ as an essential feature of any strong research proposal rather than a simple ‘add on’. There is a growing critical interest in the logics of impact, particularly as revealed through the policies and agendas of major funders (like ESRC) in areas such as grant-making and postgraduate research and training. In my presentation I will focus on preparing research proposals to ESRC, with particular reference to impact statements followed by an examination of ESRC Training Guidelines on impact and collaborative working. Impact has profound implications for individual social scientists and for research institutions.

The reception takes place at 5:30, with the talk beginning at 6PM.

Irene Hardill is Professor Public Policy, Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University. She is a human geographer whose work is policy-related. Over the years her research has explored the changing world of work through the many meanings of work, paid work, unpaid work in the home and in the community. She has explored what moves people to volunteer and the changing roles and responsibilities of voluntary and community sector organisations in the mixed economy of welfare. Her research is participatory, involving working in close partnership with research users. She has held a number of ESRC grants, and managed projects from other sponsors including the Leverhulme Trust, Age Concern England, the Canadian High Commission, and the French Government. Her current research includes a British Academy Infrastructure project on Digitising Voluntary and Community Sector Archives; an ESRC project Discourses of Voluntary Action at two ‘Transformational Moments’ of the Welfare State, the 1940s and 2010s (ES/N018249/1) and she is also undertaking evaluations of two major ESRC civil society investments. Recent publications include an edited book on lifecourse methods, co-edited with Dr Nancy Worth: Researching the Lifecourse: Critical Reflections from the Social Sciences (Bristol, Policy Press) a co-authored Enterprising Care: Unpaid Voluntary Action in the 21st century with Professor Sue Baines (MMU) and her book with Professor Jon Bannister J (MMU) Knowledge Mobilisation and the Social Sciences: dancing with new partners in an age of austerity has just been published in paperback by Routledge. She has substantial committee and commissioning panel experience for ESRC and RCUK, and is currently a member of the ESRC Capability Committee. In 2002, she was elected a Fellow of the Academy for the Social Sciences, and currently sits on the Nominations Committee.

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