How to handle impact in EPSRC proposals – with N8 and EPSRC

On February 25th, the EPSRC hosted a regional roadshow in conjunction with N8 – the collaboration body for the northern research-intensive universities.

The aim of the roadshow was two-fold: (1) to spell out and explain EPSRC’s approach to regional engagement and place-based research and innovation; and (2) (and against this background) to outline EPSRC’s latest thinking on ‘impact’.

The roadshow can be replayed in full here.

Alternatively, the key messages are summarised below.

  • EPSRC is increasing its presence and profile within the regions – through, inter alia, engaging in horizon scanning activities, supporting clusters of excellence, and mapping out potential regional contributions to national policy priorities. Its approach to all these activities will take account of, inter alia, regional science and innovation audits, local economic strategies, and growth deal plans.
  • EPSRC is committed to ensuring its investments embrace and enact the principles of Responsible Innovation. Responsible Innovation, it stressed, should be “business as usual for researchers”. To help focus and inform academics’ thinking in this area, EPSRC was keen to stress the value of the Area Framework. This comprises 4 main elements: Anticipate; Reflect; Engage; Act.
  • Despite the recent passing of Pathways to Impact statements, EPSRC was keen to stress that Impact is “as important to Government as ever!”.
  • EPSRC is keen to remind academics of the importance of adequately resourcing ‘impact’ activities. It has been said that as much as 10% of a project’s resources should be given over to impact activities (ranging from partnership building and people exchange to researcher(s) training and commercialisation).