Only impact worth having

April 22, 2010

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto is correct when he writes that "the best test of what my British colleagues are now learning to call the 'impact' of research is: how does it change undergraduates' minds and lives when you share it with them?" ("A precious symbiosis", 8 April).

It is therefore ironic that the only kind of impact excluded from the forthcoming REF is the impact on student learning in the department and institution where the research takes place.

What better evidence could we have of the way in which UK policies on research continue to be oblivious to its interaction with teaching, even though the potential benefits to student education are the only justification for conducting research in universities in the first place?

Roger Brown, Professor of higher education policy, Liverpool Hope University.

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