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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Characterizing and Evidencing Impact in Research and Knowledge Translation

Professor Brian Belcher, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Research Effectiveness, Royal Roads University

Publicly supported research and knowledge programs face high expectations from funding agencies and from society to achieve and to prove “impact”. In many fields, the nature of research and the way it is being done is evolving to improve effectiveness. And yet the nature of research “impact” and how to measure it remain poorly defined and highly contested. This panel discussion will draw upon substantial new and emerging experience with conceptualizing, measuring and evidencing impact in research and knowledge translation programs. It will: review the range of users, uses and meanings of terms like “results”, “outcomes” and “impact”; discuss the various ways that research and knowledge translation can and do contribute to impacts; explore current best practice for measuring research impact at the macro and micro scales, and; explore new avenues and research needs to improve the quality of evidence needed to support learning and accountability.