Introducing the Problem of Impact
by Emily Thomas (Durham University)
Impact and societal engagement are becoming increasingly important for early career philosophers. We are encouraged to apply for conference grants, research grants, even large project grants. Many of these funding bodies are not merely interested in funding research, they are interested in funding research that can positively impact society.
What’s more, many European countries have introduced university monitoring systems, including the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. Some of these systems financially reward high performance, which may not just mean producing excellent research. It may also mean research that impacts society. In other words, research impact can lead to money.
If you’re developing new cancer treatments, or renewable sources of energy, the potential societal impact of your research is easy to see. It’s a lot harder to imagine how your work could positively impact society if you’re working on medieval theology, or the philosophy of art, or the metaphysics of time. With the support of an award from the British Academy, I’ve pulled together a short series of posts on ways that philosophers can achieve societal impact. Each of these philosophers have achieved impact in very different ways, which will - I hope - help us to think outside the box.
The first post considers blogging. Enjoy!
“On Blogging and Policy”
Podcast by Thom Brooks