Research impact psychology

Research impact

The Department of Psychology is a leading centre for research in psychology and neuroscience. In addition to conducting ground-breaking scientific research, we are committed to engaging and communicating with the beneficiaries of our research in order to foster the social and economic impact of our research. Demonstrating the value of research beyond academic circles is important. The outcomes of research funding decisions as well as the reputation of researchers - and their institutions more generally - are increasingly tied to their ability to evidence the societal benefits of their studies.

As a department we are engaged with a number of impact related activities. These webpages are dedicated to:

  1. Outlining what 'impact' is and how it is assessed
  2. Showcasing what impact we have as a department; and
  3. Providing links to resources for learning more about impact.

What is impact and how is it assessed?

Research Councils UK (RCUK) refer to two prominent types of impact:

  • Academic (or Scientific) Impact: The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, methods, theory and application. Academic impact is assessed in terms of originality, significance and rigour. Research that is particularly original, makes a noteworthy contribution to the field and is conducted with due scientific process, will likely be considered as more impactful.
  • Social and Economic Impact: The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy. Economic and societal impacts embrace all the extremely diverse ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations. Social and Economic impact is assessed by evaluating the reach and significance of research findings. Research findings that affect more (or more diverse) beneficiaries and/or effect greater societal change will tend to be evaluated as having greater impact.

Examples of Social and Economic Impact include: (a) Improving public health and well-being; (b) financial wealth creation; (c) improving social cohesion & social welfare; (d) commericalisation of research; (e) enhancing environmental or social sustainability.

For more details on what constitutes research impact and how it can be generated, see the University or RCUK impact websites. 

Who are the beneficiaries of Psychology research at Sheffield?

The beneficiaries of our research include public sector organisations (e.g. Local schools, the NHS); local regional and national government (e.g. Sheffield City Council); business and industry (e.g. energy companies); charities and NGOs and members of the general public.

To learn more about our the impact of our different research groups, please follow the link on the right of this page.

What is the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)?

The Research Excellence Framework (or REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). This year the REF assessed not only the academic quality of the research being produced by HEIs but also the quality of the social and economic impacts.

As part of the REF2014, each academic department, including the Dept. of Psychology, was required to provide general detail about how they foster social & economic impact and a number of specific case studies, clearly illustrating how their excellent research was impacting upon society.

To learn more about the Department of Psychology's REF return, follow the link on the right of this page.