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What is Grimpact?

Grimpact is more than just negative impact. 

 

Grimpact is the space between Impact and reward, where the nature and value of societal benefits are in flux and continually contested. 

It is an unintended consequence of an implied optimism of the science-society contract and contrasts what the research system rewards with how the public use research (Derrick et al. 2018). It has roots in post-normal science (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1993) and in the relationships underpinning extraordinary impact (Sivertsen and Meijer 2020), knowledge as power (Olssen 2016) and the academic need for quantified research value but at the same time is a consequence of a culture of rapid and global information dissemination, the politicisation of knowledge use, post-truth (Lewandowsky, Ecker, and Cook 2017; McIntyre 2018), the role of expertise in public debate (Collins and Evans 2008; Collins and Evans 2002), normalised deviance (Barach and Phelps 2013) and performativity and hyper- competition in research.

It is more than just an awesome word.

The Grimpact project's story

It started with a conversation on twitter 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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