Expert trumpet-blowing

November 1, 2012

Every successful operation needs teamwork. Before surgeons operate, anaesthetists attend to the patients. Chefs cook the food and waiting staff deliver it to the tables. So why should academics write their own impact case studies for submission to the research excellence framework?

Yes, they are best placed to describe their own research, but universities nevertheless should be thinking about employing professionals to draw out the impact of the work.

I've worked with academics from all disciplines for six years. Much of my time involves interviewing them about their research, then writing features, press releases or case studies about it. I love this interview process, because in most instances a detail that they mention as an aside is the part that makes the story. This is sometimes due to modesty, but more often than not it is simply because it is difficult to look at familiar things objectively.

Many universities are offering support and training sessions galore to help with impact case studies, but with increasing demands on academics' time, something has to give. Will they be so busy writing about the impact of their research that they won't have time to research, or teach, or do the dreaded admin?

Besides the challenge of drawing out the impact of their work (and finding the time to do so), there is the issue of quality. Of course, some academics would do an outstanding job, but an equal number come to mind who give me genuine cause for concern. With the stakes being so high, universities cannot afford to get this wrong.

Rebecca Perl, Messagelab Communications

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate