Of Course Research Has Impact. Here’s how.
And I don’t mean personal impact on CVs. At the annual Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) impact award ceremony in Westminster, I got a glimpse of the best of what that Research Council has to offer society. I was deeply impressed (even if prize winners are inevitably unrepresentative).
As Oxfam’s head of research, I’m obviously biased, but I think INGO research can have real impact. Take the three years of research on Davos that Shami Chakrabarti, the shadow Attorney General, said had shaped all her learning on inequality. Or the World Bank including unpaid care roles for the first time, based on research and policy work led by Thalia Kidder.
Such impact is more often drip, drip than earth shattering light bulb moment. Similarly, the ESRC Impact awards went to often long term, efforts to understand and apply insights. The finalists were gobsmacking in their breadth, depth and societal impact.