The concept of critical impact – reflections on a workshop

Dr Eric Herring, Reader in International Politics, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Dr Eric Herring, Research and Impact Director, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

How can international relations (IR) and security scholars have ‘critical impact’ in transforming unjust social relations and social practices? And what role does engagement with the Research Excellence Framework (REF) ‘impact agenda’ have in this?

The upcoming REF and the expectation that REF2020 will have a significantly larger impact component have created intense interest in the impact agenda. This issue is not specific to academia: after all, it relates centrally and explicitly to academia’s role in the wider world. The context for this agenda is one of vast global ferment: financial crisis, climate change, increasing inequalities, population growth and urbanisation, various forms of armed conflict, rapid technological advances and burgeoning social movements.

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