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Impact Workshop (9): How to Analyse the Non-academic Impact of Research from 6,679 Narratives? Analysis of the UK REF2014 Impact Case Studies

Date & Time:

September 25, 2015 (Fri) | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.


Social Sciences Function Room, 11/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus


Dr Saba Hinrichs-Krapels
Senior Research Fellow, The Policy Institute at King's
King's College London



Last year was the first time that UK Higher Education Institutions were required to submit 'impact case studies' as part of their assessment - that is, to report on the non-academic outputs of their research for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The team at the Policy Institute at King's College London was commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to analyse the 6,679 non-redacted impact case studies that were submitted and completed their report in March 2015. In this session, Dr Saba Hinrichs-Krapels will present some of the findings from this study. The analysis of the case studies used text mining techniques leading to the identification of 60 impact topics or areas where research influences society, such as medical ethics, climate change, clinical guidance and women, gender and minorities. Automated text mining was supplemented with 'deep mines', where more than 1,000 case studies were read to provide a deeper picture of the data – looking at specific questions such as 'what is the impact and value of research on clinical practice and health gain?' and 'what has been the impact of research on BRIC countries?'. These case studies are now available to read online in a searchable database developed by Digital Science, providing a rich resource that has enabled us to demonstrate that UK research has thousands of different applications worldwide.
Link to report:

About the Speaker:

Dr Saba Hinrichs-Krapels is a Senior Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s College London. Her background is in Engineering and Health Policy and her interests are in advancing health research and delivery systems, and the need to engage with policymakers to bring evidence, ideas, and innovation into practice for this purpose. She holds a PhD in Engineering Design from the University of Cambridge, and is a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Saba recently worked on a study that analysed the 6,695 non-redacted impact case studies submitted to REF 2014, a project commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Before joining King’s she spent three years working at RAND Europe, a non-profit institution whose mission is to improve policy and decision making. Her focus was on health services and evaluation; she led on the development of three large grant applications, and actively worked across disciplines and teams within the company. In her more independent research roles, she recently led on a rapid evidence synthesis on procurement and supply chain management lessons for the NHS (funded by the National Institute for Health Research), bibliometric analyses, and complex evaluations of health and social care organisations. She has also worked on a programme of work on international comparisons of health systems (funded by the Department of Health) and completed studies for clients including the European Commission, the Dairy Council, and Macmillan Cancer Support. Saba previously worked for the medical device industry in the UK, continues her involvement in equipment donation and management in the charity sector as a Trustee for Medical Support in Romania (Reg. Charity 1058339), and is a technical advisor to Engineering World Health at the University of Cambridge.

Background on the Workshops:

Impact is a key element of the University's knowledge exchange (KE) strategy. Since 2012/13, the University Grants Committee (UGC) requires each UGC-funded institution to submit up to 5 impact case studies that are underpinned by excellent research as part of the knowledge transfer/KE annual report each year. The format is similar to the impact case study template of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

It is also important to note that in the Panel-Specific Assessment Criteria for the UGC RAE 2014, all the Panels included under the "Esteem" measure some elements relating to KE/technology transfer. This suggests that the next Hong Kong RAE will likely require evidence of impact and the UK experience indicates that now is the time to start collecting evidence of such impacts.

The Knowledge Exchange Office is organising workshops to be conducted by researchers who have hands-on experience in preparing impact statements and impact case studies for the UK REF 2014 or research councils overseas. The workshops will be of interest not only to colleagues who want to maximise the impact of their research, but also to those who co-ordinate research developments and research assessment in Faculties.

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