Achieving and measuring research impact is a challenging task. There are a lot of resources and tools available online, but sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start and what to look for. That’s why R2A is launching its new initiative: R2A Impact Practitioners.
We have gathered over 60 resources on research and evidence impact, curated them into a knowledge repository, and written blog posts summarising their main ideas and findings.
Every week we will publish a 300–600 word summary of one Open Access resource we find useful and/or inspiring. The resources that R2A Impact Practitioners covers range from academic papers and programme reports to practical toolkits and manuals. They all focus on planning for, achieving, maximising, and assessing research uptake, use, and impact.
Over the years, we have seen many organisations face common challenges in dealing with research uptake and impact. Often, people struggle with the terminology around impact and they have unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved, monitored, and evaluated. Many programmes also have limited resources. This need for varied, practical, and accessible resources has led us to create the R2A Impact Practitioners repository and subsequently publish a set of written summaries of Open Access materials.
R2A Impact Practitioners can help you pick relevant resources for your programme, consolidate existing knowledge, and establish a common understanding and approach to uptake and impact. The resources are not intended to be ‘the best’ so much as a useful selection of different methods, concepts, and experiences.
Instead of ranking or judging the resources, we have classified them into nine categories: Frameworks, Policy Impact, Utilisation, Strategy, Indicators, Evaluation & Monitoring, Capacity building, Learning and Theoretical. The category system should make it easy to search for a specific topic and compare the different resources and recommendations.
Additionally, R2A will be launching its first fundraising action! After a decade without funding, R2A will soon have a Patreon page, where communication and impact practitioners can donate money and in return receive exclusive rewards.
Becoming an R2A Patreon supporter brings two types of benefits. The first is access to a regular series of conversations and resources including ‘sensemaking’ of the R2A Impact Practitioners resources, clustered by type or use, and ‘R2A Conversations’ with practitioners, trainers, and authors of the impact resources. The second is membership of the R2A ‘extended family’: your financial support will help us to continue running the platform and signposting helpful resources and initiatives of use to our global community.
We hope this interactive space will nurture further discussions about evidence impact and bring the community of professionals together.
Our role as knowledge broker
R2A Impact Practitioners can’t cover the wide topic of research impact on its own. That’s why we would also like to highlight other rich sources of information. If you are looking for Research Excellence Framework (REF) guidance, we strongly recommend Mark Reed’s Fast Track Impact website featuring practical manuals and a database of university impact strategy documents. Another great database on knowledge mobilisation is operated by Research Impact Canada, while USAID offers toolkits and a training course on strategic collaboration, learning and adaptive management.
It’s no coincidence that R2A Impact Practitioners has people and practice in its title. We hope this initiative will help you learn more about impact, solve common issues, and inspire you to think about impact in a new way.
The initiative would like to create connections between practitioners in various countries and help to fill in gaps in knowledge. Equal access to information is crucial in this process. That’s why all featured resources are available in Open Access for everyone to use.
To underline the importance of equality and sharing even further, R2A is launching R2A Impact Practitioners on September 28 – the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
The start of R2A Impact Practitioners also coincides with the European Research and Innovation Days organised by the European Commission on September 28 and 29. This annual event brings together researchers, policymakers, and the public and discusses the shape and future of research in and beyond Europe.
R2A Impact Practitioners join this conversation by publishing the first summary blog post on September 29. It will feature a practical guide on communicating research for evidence-based policymaking, put together by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Then, each week on a Thursday you can expect a new post. Make sure you are following us on social media for more updates about this initiative!