Politics and International Studies Impact Conference, Warwick November 2016



The results of REF2014 suggest that Politics and International Studies is one of the most ‘impactful’ disciplines in higher education, belying fears that only STEM subjects would achieve true, auditable, impact. 73% of the impact case studies submitted was judged to demonstrate ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ impact in terms of their reach and significance. But, in the eyes of some academics, impact is still the devil we don’t know, and it is clear that there is much room for debate about what impact actually means for the discipline. With preparations for the next REF already underway, this is an opportune moment to have a profession-wide discussion about impact, with contributions from political scientists, funding bodies, HEFCE, and a broad range of other non-academic constituencies.

We invite panels and individual papers from faculty, graduate students and practitioners that address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • What does ‘impact’ mean in the context of the discipline of Politics and International Studies, and to what extent does this capture the range and significance of research being conducted?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities facing academics in Politics and International Studies with regard to the generation and capture of evidence of impact, plus its measurement?
  • How does public engagement relate to impact?
  • Are some areas of the discipline advantaged and/or disadvantaged by the HEFCE impact agenda? For example, does impact privilege problem-solving approaches over other perspectives? If so, what are the longer-term implications for this for research agendas?
  • To what extent are there tensions between the HEFCE impact agenda and other understandings of impact as found among RCUK funders such as the ESRC?
  • To what extent does impact speak to university-led Widening Participation and outreach into schools?
  • Does geographical positioning make it relatively easier for some departments to stimulate policy debates and give advice to government and other public bodies?

We also invite presentations and posters that showcase impact work, provided there is a clear focus on distilling ‘lessons learned’.

We are particularly keen for presentations and posters that look to broaden our understanding of what impact can entail, by moving the frame of investigation beyond the policy arena to consider other avenues for impact, such as ‘campaigning for social change’, ‘challenging conventional wisdom’, and ‘creating cultural artefacts’.

It is anticipated that selected proceedings from the event will be published in a special issue of the journal British Politics, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Submission Guidelines:


15 March 2016 – Abstract of no more than 250 words and a CV to: o.a.hassan@warwick.ac.uk

For more information see the website http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/impact/events/impactconference2016/

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