Skip main navigation

Demystifying research impact

How research impact makes a difference to society, to the economy, to human understanding, and the state of our world.
ROSE-MARIE BARBEAU: Universities have always made a difference to society, to the economy, to human understanding, and the state of our world. We just, perhaps, haven’t always been as robust as we could have been at showing that. And now we, as institutions and individuals, need to do that. But, recently, impact, as a term, has become so overanalyzed and so overemphasised that it seems to assume these gigantic proportions overshadowing every other priority. So our aim with this course is to demystify the word impact and to return it to its proper size and place.
We want to show you that impact is not a set of new tasks that sits separate to and parallel to your research and teaching, competing with those things for your limited time and resource, and generally causing stress. It coexists with those things. But it starts with understanding.
The aim of Week 1 is to gain a broad understanding of what is meant by research impact in the Higher Education sector and why it is important for both wider society and the economy.

This session will be led by our guest educator Rose-Marie Barbeau, who is the Research Impact Manager at the University of Glasgow. Rose-Marie’s remit is wide-ranging: she works with researchers and academic support staff from all disciplines across our four colleges (Arts; Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences; Science and Engineering; and Social Sciences).

Key messages

• A need exists to highlight what academia has to offer for society at large, both as individuals and institutions

• Research impact should not be viewed as a separate agenda – it coexists with traditional academic activities such as research and teaching

This article is from the free online

Research Impact: Making a Difference

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education