Research

We need a better understanding of ‘good’ research impacts

Paul Benneworth, Senior Researcher, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, the Netherlands

My starting point is to welcome the recently published Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences report, Approaches to assessing impact in the Humanities and Social Sciences as a valuable addition to a growing policy understanding of the diversity of ways in which humanities and social sciences research (HSS) creates societal impact. It matches what has been found elsewhere by the British Academy in the UK, the AWTI in the Netherlands...

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What is science worth for us?

Jack Spaapen, senior policy advisor, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Since the 1990s, policy makers progressively became interested in assessing scientific research not only on its merits for the scientific community, but also for society at large. However, we still do not have a widely accepted, systematic way to assess scientific impact. So why is it so difficult to assess impact of research?

The main reason is that there are so many different kinds of impact, depending on the societal context. Clearly, this goes for researchers working in, say, medical fields compared to those working in agriculture or ICT. But it goes a fortiori for researchers working in the broad array of humanities and social science (HSS) fields. Researchers who work in language departments and want to have an impact on the language curriculum of high schools have to deal with legal and governmental departments, with school boards, with student...

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The CIMVHR Approach to Assessing Impact

By Stéphanie Bélanger, CD, PhD, and Heidi Cramm, PhD, Co-scientific director (interim), Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, with thanks for input from the entire CIMVHR team.

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Heath Research (CIMVHR) was created in 2010 with a mission to enhance the lives of Canadian military personnel, Veterans and their families by harnessing the national capacity for research. Being the only country that was a part of NATO that didn’t have an organization focused on this unique population drove Queen’s University and the Royal Military Collage of Canada to take the lead in creating such an institute. Now 42 Canadian universities strong, CIMVHR is the hub for researchers working together in addressing the health research requirements for our military personnel, Veterans and their families.

As an institute that grew from two universities to 42 in a span of seven years, our methods for assessing...

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Salons: Perspectives on society through scholarly journals

In this era of the 24-hour news cycle, alternative facts and the proliferation of hard-to-verify sources, the online magazine Salons reminds us that research in the humanities and social sciences plays a key role in helping us analyze and understand society.

Salons invites the public to reflect on various societal issues as we read and review various articles published over the years in scholarly journals. This is a way for the magazine to showcase the abundance and importance of reputable and rigorously developed research. It also demonstrates the value of easy access to this information, as the articles and other resources featured in Salons are freely available to all.

Instead of offering frenetic...

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On the Impacts of Teaching

Nancy Chick, Academic Director of the Taylor Institute, University Chair in Teaching and Learning and Teaching Professor at the University of Calgary

A key contribution of the Federation’s Approaches to Assessing Impacts in the Humanities and Social Sciences report is its acknowledgement that “Academic work has impacts beyond the initial actions or outputs of the researcher, including effects from teaching” (p. 13). Indeed, the professor of folklore studies sketched in one of the report’s case studies identifies “to strengthen and open the minds of students” as one of two goals for his scholarship (p. 12). His aim is probably familiar to many of us in the humanities and social sciences. He wants to contribute to a wider body of knowledge (his first goal), but on a more human level, the knowledge he wants to...

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Tools that help us talk about impacts in the humanities

Tim Kenyon, Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts, Research, University of Waterloo; member of the Federation’s Impacts Project Advisory Group

On February 8-9, I was very happy to meet with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, during a visit organized by the Institute for Humanities. In presentations and discussion sessions, we covered topics relating to the measurement and appraisal of humanities research. A summary of some of the themes raised in those discussions follows.

When asked to provide evidence or descriptions of research impact, humanities researchers typically face two related difficulties. The first is the prevalence and influence of research metrics that do not capture humanities research accurately; the second is the difficulty of proposing characterizations of research impact that do capture humanities research accurately.

We discussed ways in which both difficulties can be addressed through an open,...

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Sesquicentennial is no longer just about Canada

Paul Davidson, president, Universities Canada and Christine Tausig Ford, interim executive director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Canada’s 150th anniversary offers up a unique moment in time -- a pause, if you will, to reflect on where we’ve been and our country’s potential for the future.

There will be many celebrations over the coming year to mark 150 years since Confederation, but our sesquicentennial is about much more than cake and fireworks. Most importantly, it’s about coming together to chart a path to 2067.

At our 200th anniversary, what kind of Canada do we want to be? What can and should we become as a nation?

That’s the challenge laid before 100 young...

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Time to Take Peer Review of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Seriously at CIHR

Matthew Herder, Associate Professor, Health Law Institute, Faculties of Medicine and Law, Dalhousie University @cmrherder

In September 2016, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) launched an International Peer Review Expert Panel under the Chairmanship of Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to assess the design and implementation of CIHR’s new grants adjudication processes. Nominated by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Matthew Herder presented his testimony to the International Peer Review Expert Panel on January 17, 2017. You can read Herder’s full testimony here as well as his blog below, originally posted on Impact Ethics blog.  


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Back to school: What is the media saying?

Kayla MacIntosh, Junior Communications Officer, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

As Junior Communications Officer at the Federation, I monitor the “back to school” news that fills the media every September when more than a million Canadian students head back to college and university. In this blog you can find a variety of important conversations about the post-secondary education (PSE) sector and its biggest achievements and challenges moving forward in the 2016-17 academic year.

Several Canadian universities, 13 in total, were buoyed in their back to school start, with landmark...

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2017 pre-budget submission: Research drives innovation and growth

 

As part of the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is recommending significant investments to strengthen research, experiential learning and Indigenous academic inclusion. Read our full submission here.

Canada depends on a strong research ecosystem to prosper in a fast-changing knowledge economy. Budget 2016 made some important contributions to strengthening that system, and this important work must continue. The Federation believes that by strengthening Canada’s education and research systems, we can produce the new knowledge and talented workforce Canada will need to achieve long-term equitable growth. To succeed, we will need to tackle three key challenges:

1: Ensure a high performing and globally connected Canadian research ecosystem

While Canadian researchers continues to rank highly compared to their...

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