Measuring the impact of academic research: Best practices and open questions

Reports on a workshop at Birkbeck University in December 2016


Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR) organised a full-day workshop on the impact of academic research. This workshop had a clear focus on non-academic impact, i.e. impact outside the academic domain. However, I was asked to present on what we could learn from the measurement of academic impact. My presentation showed that in fact many of the principles are very similar.

  • Harzing, A.W. (2016) What can we learn from academic impact: a short introduction, presented at workshop on the impact of academic research, Birkbeck University, 2 December 2016. Available online...

Workshop description

Academics are increasingly called to account for the impact of their research, sometimes as a requirement to secure research funding, sometimes through formalized evaluation processes, which might involve providing quantitative evidence. As research impact gains increasing importance for academic visibility and even for the purposes of funding allocation, it is imperative to better understand how it occurs and how it generates value for the economy and society. By bringing together researchers and policymakers, this workshop aims to advance debate on the nature and value of research impact:

  • How does academic research generate impact?
  • Does impact have a regional / geographical dimension?
  • What are the business and university practices that support impact processes? How do these practices support interdisciplinary research processes in particular?
  • Is it possible to identify metrics to capture the impact of research?

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