UTFacultiesBMSResearchBMS Research SupportNews (research related)The results of the BMS Impact Inquiry are in!

The results of the BMS Impact Inquiry are in! Next up: focus groups

What does impact mean to you? Do you feel supported in impact-related activities? We hear the topic of "impact" all around, in funding, in evaluation, but also in the passion of our researchers. So, as BMS, we wanted to get in dialogue with the faculty and shape our impact strategy together.

The BMs Impact Inquiry

To do this, we ran the BMS Impact Inquiry over the course of April, a questionnaire zooming in on one's definition of impact, what activities they are doing and want to do, and what support they need in these various (new) activities. The inquiry amassed 48 responses, we are very thankful for that! This is not representative of a faculty of ~600 staff members, but certainly a great source of inspiration.

The results are published online: a report (12 pages) and a poster (1 page). Enjoy reading! Do you see anything surprising? Or are these just some open doors to you? Let us know!

What's next?

Next steps and projects

Four next steps have been defined, described very briefly:

  1. A few quick wins, mapping recurring elements in impact paragraphs and information provision.
  2. Zooming in on the support need, in conversation with partners within UT, to find out precisely what support we are not yet providing.
  3. Further investigating the need to reach policymakers, find out how this is already being done and how we can support them.
  4. Working on a white paper with our vision on impact, to give a nuanced but concise answer to the definition question and to profile BMS.

Focus groups

And finally, through three initial focus groups, we would like to get into conversation and experiment with some existing tools that can help our conversations around impact. Let’s not reinvent the wheel, but first assess ready-made solutions. After seeing how this fits your needs, we can better start a BMS toolkit. Registrations for these are open! The focus groups are all scheduled for early June, and will focus on:

  1. The University of Oulu in Finland has already developed the Impact Helper, a one-page tool to structure your thoughts around the topic of impact.
  2. Impact Pathways are a way to think backwards from the impact you want to make in the future as an academic, trying to bridge your research output now to the desired societal or academic impact later.
  3. NWO has three online workshop series, the Impact Outlook facilitates the conversation on whether to aim for scientific or societal impact. This tool can be used early in conversations around impact, as opposed to the impact pathways, which are commonly used when societal impact is already chosen as a focal point.
  • Impact Helper (Monday 12th of June from 13:00 to 14:00)

    Goal of the focus group
    With this focus group, we want to find out if the Impact Helper is a useful tool to shape thoughts on an individual level and find out where (and if) researchers would see a use for this tool. An assumption is that this Impact Helper is quicker and more explorative than for instance the Impact Pathway, we want to also test this assumption with the focus group.

    What will we do?
    We will test the tool for the first half of the focus group, using your own research to fill in the tool. Then, in the second half, we will reflect on ease and added value of using this tool, and if this has potential to be used broader in BMS.

    Who can join?
    This focus group is open to researchers of all roles and disciplines. It does not matter how concrete your research idea is, it may just be an idea, or you are already concretely writing a grant proposal, or the project is running, that is all good. We do ask you to indicate how concrete the idea is in the focus group, so we can see if that matters in using the tool.

    When is this focus group taking place?
    The focus group is initially planned on 12th of June from 13:00 to 14:00. The meeting is preferable in-person, hybrid is possible too.

  • Impact Pathways (Thursday 8th of June from 9:30 to 11:30)

    Goal of the focus group
    With this focus group, we want to get insight into user experiences when using the impact pathways as a tool. An earlier workshop at UT central level taught us that specificity is key, so doing another workshop on faculty level might help. The impact pathway is also more in-depth than the Impact Helper (focus group 1) and we will explore the added value to your work.

    What will we do?
    With the help of our colleague Joost Teuben (Impact Officer from ITC) we will construct impact pathways for your research project together. In addition, time will be saved for reflection on the method and its useability.

    Who can join? Why should you join?
    Impact Pathways visualise the route from concrete outputs to the desired impact, and are an excellent source for discussion with your colleagues and/or partners to define the scientific focus or contribution of each of them. It is a step-wise approach to your scientific project and encourages you to reflect on the underlying assumptions.   

    When is this focus group taking place?
    The focus group is initially planned on 8th of June from 9:30 to 11:30. The meeting will take place on campus. 

  • Impact Outlook (Wednesday 7th of June from 12:30 to 13:30, including lunch)

    Goal of the focus group
    With this focus group, we want to see if the Impact Outlook can indeed facilitate early conversations and if this has added value. We are curious to what extend the e-learning is self-explanatory, and in general learn of your experiences with this tool: was it useful, was it easy, was it worth your time, would you prefer this individually or on a team level, …? 

    What will we do?
    Taking inspiration from the flipped classroom format, you will be asked to do the online learning module before the meeting. Then, the lunch meeting will focus on reflecting on your experiences with using this e-learning.

    Who can join?
    We advice researchers to join that have an idea that is not fully crystallised, as this workshop aims to give you handles to determine whether to aim for academic, societal impact, or both. You are expected to walk through the e-learning online, you can do so individually or with a fellow researchers.

    When is this focus group taking place?
    The focus group is initially planned on 7th of June from 12:30 to 13:30, including lunch. The meeting is preferable in-person, hybrid can be arranged. You can sign-up online

Know where to find us

As seen in the next steps described above, and the organisation of the focus group, conversations around impact and how can help you are still ongoing. Your input is valued! If you have any ideas, reach out to Tom Boogerd (policy advisor research at BMS) or drop by for a cup of coffee.