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100-Hour Research Impact Placement
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I first became aware of the REF 2014 through researching the best Politics schools in the UK. The reputation of the University of Sheffield's Politics department preceded it, especially by research, having never been ranked lower than 3rd best in the UK over the last 20 years. When the opportunity arose over Christmas to help researchers in identifying their impact, it piqued my interest to apply, and I was fortunate enough to get the job.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

I applied directly to the impact placement team, with CV and cover letter, and was offered the chance to interview and present research of impact evidence from a prior given piece of research. The whole process was straight forward and clear in instruction, well directed and a smooth, quick and professional administrative process.

Main responsibilities

Understanding research impact deeply, by official definition, and how researchers both create, track and determine research impact. Liaise with researchers and administrators regarding progress on the REF 2021 case study. Identified and evidence impacts arising from research, contextualise this in a manner suitable within the wider narrative of the case study and research story. Using the internet to identify key areas where the research was disseminated.

Typical day

Read contextual and methodology material on how best to identify and assess impacts arising from research. Use the internet to research dissemination and categorise them. Advise the research how best to identify ongoing impacts arising from further research which may corroborate their 2021 case study submission.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

The departmental summer BBQ was decent! More seriously, a great deal of autonomy over my workload. Seamless inclusion within the department, from invitations meetings and discussions to social event invitations. Given respect and authority over how best to identify and assess impacts.

Challenging aspects

Identifying impacts retrospectively, especially when the research was done a long time ago, where the policy world and government has moved on and discussion, policy pursuit and research has subsequently moved on.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Logically thinking through the impact process, from ideation to policy implementation and identifying impacts arising throughout the lifecycle. How best to utilise Google. Influential stakeholders in the policy world. Departments, politicians and features of government and IGO's. Time management, especially given limited time.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

In some respects, yes, and has given rise to greater opportunities. I was recently prospected by a recruiter looking for economic and business impacts in the private sector, which I may or may not pursue.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

What you think something entails, is often completely different to what it does. Communicate clearly, honestly and openly with your colleagues and managers. Don't be afraid to ask seemingly stupid questions; there's no such thing when you're learning. Be organised, be self-disciplined and be bold, people want to hear your opinion and insights more than you likely believe they do. And of course, just apply or you'll never know whether you could have got the job.

Form completed: 06 Jul 2018

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