- The impact of researcher development activity
- Building the evidence base for researcher development
Building the evidence base for researcher development
The Impact and Evaluation Group (IEG) was set up in 2005 following a Forum held in the town of Rugby (Hence the original name of the group ‘The Rugby Team'). IEG is a sector-led working group with the target to 'propose a meaningful and workable way of evaluating the effectiveness of skills development in early career researchers' in partnership with stakeholders. The initiative of the IEG was re-inforced by the 2006 Warry report (Increasing the Economic impact of the Research Councils ) which recommended to the Research Councils that they should be able to demonstrate the impact of their investments in both research and researcher training.
The IEG developed the national impact framework for evaluation the ‘Rugby Team Impact Framework' and an implementation strategy now in progress. The IEG also regularly collate impact evidence from across the sector and stakeholders and produce update reports to the Vitae annual conference in September amongst other activity. The activity of the IEG is one aspect of a multi facetted approach to developing the evidence base, which includes a number of other projects
Drivers for evaluating impact
The drivers for building the evidence base for the impact of researcher development are summarised in the ‘Rugby Team Impact Framework' document as:
‘The imperative to identify coherent and transparent ways to evaluate has arisen from a number of drivers, including the need to:
- demonstrate the appropriateness of the emphasis on skills development of researchers
- provide feedback to funding bodies, such as RCUK and the UK Funding Councils, and to government, who need to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their investment and on the economy
- inform the enhancement of the quality of the experience for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and research staff (RS), both within individual HEIs and across the sector in line with initiatives such as the QAA Code of Practice for Postgraduate Research Programmes and the ‘Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers'
- assess the impact of recent initiatives, particularly the 'Roberts funding', on the employability (and perceived employability) of PGR and RS'.
The skills agenda is driven by multiple government reports identifying the importance of development of skills (Roberts, Warry, Leitch, Smith review etc.). Further details are available in the policy section of the Vitae website.