Impact – “how to keep the public onside with science”

This blog post was written by James Lush, the Biochemical Society’s Policy Officer

Professor Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College London and past contributor to The Biochemist recently spoke at the Heads of University Biological Sciences (HUBS) Winter Meeting 2011 about impact within the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). He has now written up his thoughts for the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine and invites thoughts on his blog, Reciprocal Space.

In the THE article he writes:
“The problems of measuring impact – however widely it is defined – are real, particularly with respect to evidence gathering. As a community, we should be wary of the process becoming a tail that wags the scientific dog. But I think there is no alternative but to engage as constructively as we can with the REF. It will not suffice to bleat at its inevitable flaws. We need to be more sophisticated and realistic when dealing with our political masters, who are the representatives of the public into whose purses we are permitted to dip… If nothing else, it will help us to assemble a fresh pile of stories about the success of UK science. Rightfully, it will also expose us to national problems and priorities that the country expects scientists to address.”

What do you think?

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