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I am Gemma Derrick

I am an Associate Professor (Research Policy & Culture) at the University of Bristol and a recipient of the 2023 British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. I am involved in a number of different projects and initiatives that confront inadequacies in research assessment thereby combatting inequities in research culture.

For this project, I am interested in probing the deeper and darker questions of research Impact and its consequences for understanding research value and its relationship with society.

Grimpact has kept me awake many nights since I first came up with the concept in 2018 with my colleague Prof Paul Benneworth.  This project is to put this concept and me, to bed.

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The Grimpact project's story

It started with a conversation on twitter with a colleague and ended up being a concept that captured the imagination of the research community while challenging assumptions about the how Impact was encouraged, defined and evaluated.

As the impact agenda grows to include more formal criteria to assess the broader value of research beyond academia, so too is the need to re-examine the implicit optimism that is embedded within expectations of the science-society interface.  Here, evaluations are expected to be conducted with the public’s best interests in mind however, this assumed orientation within the impact agenda towards positivity may act too to blind reviews in the cases of grimpact (negative impact).  Grimpact, although implicitly acknowledged within research evaluation in various guises, is still poorly conceptualised, theorised and organised.  This limits the ability of research evaluation systems to adjust sufficiently to consider the possibility of an impact counter-culture, and limits the effectiveness of interventions on the macro, meso and micro levels to counter its effects. This project aims to disentangle this dark space and provide clarity for the future evaluation of impact, and the relationship between research and society.

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