Call for Abstracts: Research Impact and the Early Career Researcher

The incorporation of impact into the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) has led to a step change in the way in which much research is now approached in the UK.With a focus on demonstrating the cultural, economic, and social benefits of research, academics face the challenge of not only delivering high quality research but connecting this with lay beneficiaries and demonstrating non-academic effects. Research impact is characterised by unique paths and varied outcomes, highlighting how impact may not be easily defined, described, or evidenced. This complex impact landscape can be intimidating for new and early-career researchers, who may questionhow they can meaningfully contribute to the impact agenda, how they develop realistic yet ambitious pathways to impact, how they can build capacity and skills in research impact and how this can be aligned with academic career progression.

Post-REF 2014, there is an opportunity to rethink our approach to research impact and, in particular, to question what impact means for the new or early-career researcher and how to support the development of research capability in this area. For this edited collection, we are hoping to bring together two types of content. The first is a series of reflective narratives and think-pieces on research impact written by new and early career researchers to capture the diverse experiences, concerns, challenges, and opportunities research impact presents. The second is a series of critical and research-informed essays from all those working in the area that interrogate, question, and discuss research impact in connection to new and/or early career researchers. Chapters may focus on, but are not limited to, the below list of topics:

  1. Career development and capability development for early career researchers
  2. Promotion and developmental frameworks
  3. International and transnational perspectives on research impact
  4. Interdisciplinarity and liminal spaces for impact
  5. Critical mass and the weight and depth of evidence
  6. Cross-institutional impact
  7. Conceptual impact and the impact of ideas
  8. Negative impact and detrimental impact
  9. Team and collaborative impact
  10. Doctoral research and impact
  11. Impact, policy, and politics
  12. Ownership and management of impact
  13. The ethics of impact
  14. Impact and infrastructures
  15. Discipline specific issues pertaining to research impact on early-career researchers.

If you are interested in submitting an essay or a new/early-career researcher narrative or reflection, please send an abstract of 200-300 words to researchimpact2016@gmail.com by Monday 28th November.

It is estimated that narratives will be no more than 3000 words and essays no more than 6000 words. Once we have all the abstracts after 28th, the editorial team will review submissions to determine the strongest content for the book. We expect this to be a period of feedback and discussion with potential authors to finalise the types of pieces for inclusion. We anticipate then a period of 6 months to complete contributions.

The book will be edited by:

Julie Bayley – Health Psychologist and Researcher in Knowledge Mobilisation.

Kieran Fenby-Hulse– Researcher in Early and Middle Career Research Development (Coventry University)

Emma Heywood – Lecturer in French (Coventry University) and Researcher in Media and Conflict-affected Areas

Kate Walker – Research Associate in Psychology at the Centre for Psychology, Behaviour, and Achievement (Coventry University)


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