Beyond the ‘Postmodern University’…does this also imply competing realities for narratives on Impact cases?

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As an institution, the “postmodern university” is central to the canon of today’s research on higher education policy. Yet in this essay I argue that the postmodern university is a fiction that frames and inhibits our thinking about the future university. To understand why the postmodern university is a fiction, I first turn to grand theory and ask whether we can make sense of the notion of “post”-postmodernity. Second, I turn to the UK higher education sector and show that the postmodern university is a chimera, a modern artefact of competing instrumentalist, gothic, and postmodernist discourses. Third, I discuss competing visions of the future university and find that the progressive (yet modernist) agendas that re-imagine the public value of knowledge production, transmission, and contestation, are those that can move us beyond the palliative and panacea of the postmodern university.


Claire Donovan, (2013). Beyond the ‘Postmodern University’. The European Legacy. doi: 10.1080/10848770.2013.748119

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Imagining the University ; a university that has the capacity continually to re-imagine itself

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Around the world, what it is to be a university is a matter of much debate. The range of ideas of the university in public circulation is, however, exceedingly narrow and is dominated by the idea of the entrepreneurial university. As a consequence, the debate is hopelessly impoverished. Lurking in the literature, there is a broad and even imaginative array of ideas of the university, but those ideas are seldom heard. We need, consequently, not just more ideas of the university but better ideas.

Imagining the University forensically examines this situation, critically interrogating many of the current ideas of the university. Imagining the University argues for imaginative ideas that are critical, sensitive to the deep structures underlying universities and are yet optimistic, in shortfeasible utopias of the university. The case is pressed for one such idea, that of the ecological university. The book concludes by offering a vision of the imagining university, a university that has the capacity continually to re-imagine itself.




Part I: Imagining the university 1. Losing, and regaining, the imagination 2. Perchance to dream 3. Valuing the imagination 

Part II: Structuring the imagination 4. Axes of the imagination 5. Sightings of the imagination 

Part III: Forms of the imagination 6. The ideological imagination 7. The dystopian imagination 8. The persuasive imagination 9. The utopian imagination 

Part IV: Being imaginative 10. Criteria of adequacy 11. Imagining the ecological university 12. The imaginative university Coda: A forgetting of air?


Imagining the UniversityBy Ronald Barnett

Published 11th December 2012 by Routledge – 188 pages

Series: New Studies in Critical Realism and Education

Ronald Barnett is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, Institute of Education, University of London. His books include The Idea of Higher Education, A Will to Learn, Beyond All Reasonand Being a University. He has been a visiting speaker in thirty-five countries.


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Research uptake and impact: are we in danger of overstating ourselves? four issues in the balancing act between research communication or advocacy.

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Pressure to demonstrate concrete impacts on public policy is encouraging researchers to make grand claims about what we/they are likely to achieve.

Researchers must provide clear policy messages, carefully define the relevance of their research, be realistic about what can be achieved, and be clear about whether they’re practising research communication or advocacy.


There are four issues:

1. Clear research evidence doesn’t necessarily lead to clear policy messages.

2. Be careful how you define ‘policy relevance’

3. Be realistic about what can be achieved – think breadth of impact rather than depth

4. Be clear whether you’re practicing research communication or advocacy.


Louise Shaxson

LSE impact blog

Louise Shaxson is a Research Fellow in the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme at ODI.

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Managing your assets in the publication economy; publish for maximum visibility and impact

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The issue this article aims to address is the fact that publications may nowadays be used to assess impact and quality of research in ways academics may not be fully aware of. During recent years, scholarly publications have gained in importance, not primarily as the traditional vehicle for the dissemination of new scientific findings, but as a foundation for assessing the production and impact of organizations, research groups and individual researchers. This means that publications as artefacts per se are starting to play a new important role in the scientific community and that researchers need to be aware of how publication and citation counts are being used to assess their research and the outreach, impact and reputation of their mother organization. University rankings, for instance, often have some parameters based on the publishing of the ranked institution. This article is thus not about scientific writing as such; it focuses on what happens to your publication after the publishing has taken place and on aspects to take into account while planning the publishing of your article, report or book..

The author:

“Looking from this economic perspective, we can see how the societal role of the scholar is changing over time. What used to be an economically independent scholar with freedom to do research driven by curiosity is now a worker in a production machine for the knowledge society. In the short run it is off course good that the society doesn’t spend money on research that don’t give any apparent benefits in return. But how do we know in the end what benefits are to be gained from which research? If researchers only focus on delivering short-term accountable results and managing their publication

assets, what will happen with the long-term basic research that may deliver results that are important in 20-30 years?”


Confero 2013 pp. 1-35

Title:Managing your assets in the publication economyAuthor:Ulf KronmanAffiliation:National Library of SwedenDOI:10.3384/confero13v1130117First published:2013-01-17Year:2013Pages:1-35Number of pages:35Article number:confero13v1130117Language:EnglishPublisher:Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköping University, SwedenPublication type:Journal articleJournal:Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and PoliticsISSN:2001-4562

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What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? …another proof that societal impact is much harder to assess than is scientific impact

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Since the 1990s, the scope of research evaluations becomes broader as the societal products (outputs), societal use (societal references), and societal benefits (changes in society) of research come into scope. Society can reap the benefits of successful research studies only if the results are converted into marketable and consumable products (e.g., medicaments, diagnostic tools, machines, and devices) or services. A series of different names have been introduced which refer to the societal impact of research: third stream activities, societal benefits, societal quality, usefulness, public values, knowledge transfer, and societal relevance. What most of these names are concerned with is the assessment of social, cultural, environmental, and economic returns (impact and effects) from results (research output) or products (research outcome) of publicly funded research. This review intends to present existing research on and practices employed in the assessment of societal impact in the form of a literature survey. The objective is for this review to serve as a basis for the development of robust and reliable methods of societal impact measurement.


The author:

A series of different names have been introduced which refer to the societal impact of research:


1: third stream activities (Molas-Gallart, Salter, Patel, Scott, & Duran, 2002),


2: societal benefits, societal quality (van der Meulen & Rip, 2000),


3: usefulness (Department of Education Science and Training, 2005),


4: public values (Bozeman & Sarewitz, 2011),


5: knowledge transfer (van Vught & Ziegele, 2011), and


6: societal relevance (Evaluating Research in Context [ERiC], 2010; Holbrook & Frodeman, 2011).


What most of these names are concerned with is the assessment of


(a) social,


(b) cultural,


(c) environmental, and


(d) economic returns (impact and effects) from results (research output) or products (research outcome) of publicly funded research (Donovan, 2011; European Commission, 2010; Lähteenmäki-Smith, Hyytinen, Kutinlahti, & Konttinen, 2006).


In this context, (a) social benefits indicate the contribution of the research to the social capital of a nation (e.g., stimulating new approaches to social issues, informed public debate, and improved policymaking). (These and the following examples are taken from Donovan, 2008). Since social benefits are hardly distinguishable from the superior term of societal benefits, in much literature the term “social impact” is used instead of “societal impact.” (b) Cultural benefits are additions to the cultural capital of a nation (e.g., understanding how we relate to other societies and cultures, contributing to cultural preservation and enrichment). (c) Environmental benefits add to the natural capital of a nation (e.g., reduced waste and pollution, uptake of recycling techniques). (d) Economic benefits denote contributions to the economic capital of a nation (e.g., enhancing the skills base, improved productivity).


” If many different indicators are used in the societal impact evaluation, similar methodological requirements as with the citation counts have to be taken into account with each indicator. Additional indicators (studies have identified up to 60 different indicators; discussed earlier) also mean that additional aspects have to be taken into account in the collection of the data. Since studies have shown that scientific and societal impact barely correlate with one another (discussed earlier), few synergy effects will be produced, and both evaluations have to be conducted alongside one another. Approaches are needed which combine the scientific and societal impact assessment in a single applicable framework.”




What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? a literature surveyLutz BornmannJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Volume 64, Issue 2, pages 217–233, February 2013

DOI: 10.1002/asi.22803

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Strategies to Get Your Research Mentioned Online; why simply sharing a link is not enough

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Why should you share links to your published work online, and how can you encourage others to do it?


Make It Frictionless

Apart from questions of discipline, theme, methodology, format, type of journal, etc., there are other factors that need to be taken into account if successful sharing is the objective. Successful sharing is, indeed, frictionless sharing: the idea is that as authors and publishers we can make things easier for our readers to share.


Open Up and Make Links

When it comes to sharing a link to your published research, “the real issue is how [to] make content that’s compelling to a reader that doesn’t feel like an ad,” as Paul Rossi pointed out recently in the context of journalism. This can cause cognitive dissonance in those authors who fiercely resist the danger of dumbing research down to ensure wider readerships. A message to take home is that helping your paper get more online attention does not require academic authors to sacrifice scientific rigour and intellectual depth. What it does require is the will to harness technologies and strategies that might be new or even scary at first.


Share Alike

Perhaps the most important strategy is to remember that nothing will come of nothing (or of very little).


Read more:




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Researchfish; a new Research Outcomes System for researchers and funders

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Researchfish is a simple to use Research Outcomes System designed to enable a researcher to report once across multiple funders, re-use their data for their own use and; have control on who sees and access’s their data. Researchers can use their Portfolio data to create CV’s . A simple to use one click environment for adding research outcomes to be stored and or attributed to an award. Research outputs are defined into thirteen easily recognised types. A researcher, or one of their delegates, can add, edit and delete entries, and attribute entries to awards they hold or to one of their CV’s held in the Researchfish Portal.


Researchfish e-Val is the interface used by funding organisations to report on the outcomes attributed to them. It has a permissions based interface which is simple to use and a comprehensive reporting capability removing the need for lengthy and expensive data cleaning and analysis. Funding organisations benefit from a greater accuracy of validated data from source, enable accurate real time reporting and drastically reduce the administrative burden of evaluation.


Publications Direct lookups to pub med and bulk upload capability as well as manual entries for Books, book chapters, Monographs, Policy briefings and reports, journal articles, conference proceedings and abstracts


Collaborations and Partnerships Here the researcher can record new collaborations with other organisations and partners, Researchfish contains a pre populated list of organisations and departments from the eVal interface organisations can report on associated metadata such as location, industry type and market sector, without having to ask the researcher for that information or rely on manual input. Further Funding A researcher can choose to relate one award with another; in this case further funding is automatically recorded at the click of a button. Alternatively further funding can be entered manually and again enables to use autolookup fields for funding organisations. Development of products and interventions
Outcomes on new products and interventions, the development stage of existing products, clinical trial stage,funding sources, achievements and impacts applied to those products and interventions are entered simply with drop down selection and extensive online help and guidance Intellectual Property and Licensing Here data is not only captured on patents but on copyrights and patents pending. nfluence on Policy, Practice and the Public Here details of the influence and impact are captured against criteria affecting all medical research such as changes in survival, morbidity or quality of life, changes in efficiency of health care delivery, as well as economic impacts. These are captured against location date and type of influence.  Awards and recognitions
Here a researcher can store details of their recognitions from being invited to speak at conference to medals and Fellowships Other Outcomes gathered include:
Next Destination and Recruitment, Engagement activities, Research materials, tools methods and databases, Impacts on the private sector, Use of facilities and Resources.

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What does business want from business schools?

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Sir Richard Lambert, Chancellor of Warwick University, suggests four key issues:

The answer is: “exactly what it has always wanted” – great graduates and relevant ideas. But the qualities required of those graduates and the nature of the ideas that are of most interest to business are both changing radically.

The world is undergoing a profound transformation in economic, political and social terms – on a scale and at a pace never seen before. As a result, tomorrow’s business leaders are going to need a new set of skills to handle these challenges.

1) Embracing diversity – The first, and in some ways the most important, is the ability to manage diversity.

2) Dealing with uncertainty – The second great quality required of tomorrow’s business leaders is the capacity to deal with uncertainty.

3)The role of government – The third important quality that will be required of tomorrow’s business leaders is a proper understanding of the role and workings of government.

4)The purpose of business – And so finally to the fourth quality, which is a developed understanding of the role, responsibilities and purposes of business itself.




EFMD Global focus, Volume 06 | Issue 03 2012

page 16-20

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Excellence mapping – Ranking and mapping of research institutions based on excellent paper output (top 10% most cited)

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 The web application “Mapping Scientific Excellence” allows for an analysis to reveal centers of excellence (institutions: universities and research-focused institutions) in different subject areas worldwide. Based on publication and citation data gathered from Scopus (Elsevier), field-specific excellence can be identified in institutions where highly-cited papers (papers belonging to the 10% most cited papers within its fields) have been frequently published. Thus, only specific aspects of institutional performance are taken into account and other aspects such as teaching performance or societal impact of research are not considered.

The web application combines both, a list of institutions ordered by different indicator values (publication output and citation impact) and a map with circles visualizing spatially these values for geocoded institutions. Compared to the mapping and ranking approaches introduced hitherto, our underlying statistics (multi-level regression models) are analytically oriented by allowing (1) the estimation of values which are statistically more appropriate than the observed number of excellent papers for an institution; (2) the calculation of confidence intervals as measures of reliability for the institutional citation impact; (3) the comparison of a single institution with an “average” institution in a subject area, and (4) the direct comparison of at least two institutions.


Only institutions are considered in the web application that have published at least 500 articles, reviews and conference papers in the period 2005 to 2009 in a certain Scopus subject area (e.g., Physics and Astronomy or Materials Science). The citation window is from publication until the end of 2011. Excellent or highly cited papers are defined as those among the 10% most-cited papers in a field (papers in or greater than the 90th percentile, referred to in the following as class 10% papers). A multilevel logistic regression analysis was calculated to analyze the probability of an institution to publish excellent papers within a subject area. The model allows the calculation of shrinkage estimates which are more precise than raw probabilities (empirical Bayes estimates, EB). The estimated standard errors and corresponding confidence interval takes design effects into account which are more efficient and consistent estimates than the corresponding standard errors and confidence intervals obtained in a sampling procedure which does not consider any clusters (i.e. institutions). Additionally, multilevel models provide a very easy way to compare institutions, that is, whether they differ statistically significantly in their probabilities of having published class 10% papers.

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Serious impact opportunity for UK Business Schools: Enterprise Research Centre (ERC)

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The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) is an independent research centre which conducts policy relevant research on SME growth and development. The ERC is a partnership between Warwick Business School, Aston Business School, Birmingham, Imperial College Business School, Strathclyde Business School and Birmingham University Business School . Funding is being provided by the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the British Bankers Association and the Technology Strategy Board.Research within ERC focuses on entrepreneurial ambition and inclination, leadership capabilities in the management teams of SMEs, the impact of diversity on SME start-up and growth, the financing of growth companies, innovation and exporting in SMEs and the role of SMEs in UK jobs growth.Alongside its research activities the ERC aims to act as a focal point for SMEs and the SME research and policy communities in the UK, facilitating knowledge exchange. ERC aims to work with: UK Government Departments by providing an evidence base on the growth profile of UK business and the drivers of SME growth in differing contexts. Financial Institutions and Business Support Organisations by ensuring those actively working with small businesses have access to the most up-to-date research to enable them to adapt and position their offer more effectively.International Organisations by generating new research findings and an opportunity to engage and shape the work of the Centre over the three years of funding.Sub-national Government, Agencies and Organisations by providing robust and trustworthy evidence on the drivers of entrepreneurship and small firm growth


The ERC’s research activity is divided into six themes and reflects the fact that despite considerable research attention over the last 30 years the evidence base for SME policy and strategy formulation remains incomplete. As a result, growth strategy and policy remain sub-optimal.

The vast majority of research on SME growth has focused on explaining firm-level drivers and barriers to growth with limited consideration being given to either the structure, aspirations and capabilities of the leadership team or the context within which the firm is operating. Equally, a failure to recognise the multi-dimensionality of ‘growth’ itself (i.e., growth in employees; revenues; profits; value; high-growth versus low-growth versus variable growth) means that policy is often insufficiently fine-grained.

The ERC’s research programme is intended to address these issues. Three research themes focus on the entrepreneur and leadership team and centre on entrepreneurial ambition, leadership capabilities and diversity. Three other research themes have the SME as the unit of analysis and focus on finance and performance, innovation and firm demographics and productivity.

Our research themes are:

Research Theme 1: Entrepreneurial Ambition and GrowthResearch Theme 2: Entrepreneurial Leadership, Capabilities and GrowthResearch Theme 3: Diversity and SMEs in the Emerging EconomyResearch Theme 4: Finance and GrowthResearch Theme 5: SME Innovation, exporting and growthResearch Theme 6: Firm Dynamics, Job Creation and Productivity Growth
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