Our Work: The Open University

“Supporting a cohort of researchers to gain a greater appreciation of what successful research impact is and how to achieve it, resulting in a stronger REF submission”

The Open University

Research at The Open University – combining work by academics from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FASS) and the Faculty of Wellbeing Education and Language Studies (WELS) – was submitted to one panel in REF2021: C20, Social Policy and Social Work. OU Impact Coordinators realised early on in the REF cycle that they needed to support a cohort of impact active researchers, many of whom had no previous experience of REF impact.

The OU commissioned Insights for Impact to work with this cohort over nearly three years, to support the development of impact from their research. This support took the form of capacity building through workshops, as well as one-to-one or small group coaching. It involved helping to identify elements of the impact work that needed strengthening and supporting researchers to achieve those improvements. It also comprised targeting and collecting appropriate evidence and building compelling narratives. This intervention led to a greater appreciation of what successful research impact is and how to achieve it across the cohort, resulting in a stronger REF submission.

Professor Jacqui Gabb, Impact Lead for C20 FASS:

“Collaborating with Saskia Gent on the impact cases for C20 REF2021 has been a positive and pleasurable experience for all concerned. Saskia has a rigorous grasp of the intricacies of REF and the inevitable changes that occurred due to the pandemic over this past REF cycle. This kept us fully informed and on track in these challenging circumstances. She was attentive to the bigger picture too; that research impact is part of the research that researchers want to do to achieve societal change. She thus successfully engaged with a wide group of engaged academics and individual Impact Case Leads, in a new cross-faculty REF collaboration. This enabled them to fully accomplish and extend their engaged research ambitions.”

Dr Mathijs Lucassen, Senior Lecturer & Impact Lead for C20 WELS:

“Saskia Gent and Insights for Impact were instrumental in our submission of five quality impact case studies for REF2021. Saskia has as encyclopedic knowledge of REF impact and she ably supported the case study leads to develop their impact work in a way that very much strengthened our submission, but that also helped academics advance their research impact more generally. Saskia is efficient, skillful and flexible – all colleagues found her a pleasure to work with”

Our Work