Exploring Impact with the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS)

NILS 2The social and economic impact on society of social science research has become increasingly important across the UK for data providers and research funders and by default for the academic community. It has shaped the environment in which research is undertaken and funded and is now one of the criteria by which research is assessed whether by funders like the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), data providers, and the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Despite its pervasive presence in government and academia the notion of ‘impact’ is not unproblematic. Questions remain as to what it is, how it can be achieved, how it is best measured, and who it is for. There are also more fundamental questions about whether the crude use of ‘impact’ as a criterion for research funding and assessment restricts the range and type of social science research that is funded and so limits critical input from academics.

As part of the family of UK longitudinal studies, and as a research data resource funded and supported by the ESRC and government, these themes and questions are important for the NILS. This half-day workshop therefore brings together its funders, data providers, researchers, and the users of its research findings for a critical discussion of impact, its meanings, its benefits and its limitations. Speakers include representatives from data providers, research funders, academic researchers, and users of research findings. Each presentation will be followed by audience questions and there will be opportunities for general discussion and audience participation.

Invited speakers include representatives from NISRA, the ESRC, Queen’s University Belfast and the Public Health Agency Research & Development Northern Ireland (HSC R&D).

For more information and registration details, please visit the NILS-RSU event page


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