The inaugural Engagement and Impact Assessment took place in 2018 (EI 2018). EI 2018 assess how well researchers are engaging with end-users of research, and shows how universities are translating their research into economic, social, environmental, cultural and other impacts. 

The results of EI 2018 are presented in the Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018-19 National Report which is available via the ARC Data Portal, along with the highly rated impact studies and assessment outcomes. 

During 2019–20, the ARC undertook a review of EI (and its companion exercise Excellence in Research for Australia) to ensure it continued to reflect world’s best practice in research evaluation and responded to the needs of the university sector. 

The next round of EI will take place in 2024. 

ARC Data Portal

The ARC Data Portal contains:

Background

On 7 December 2015 the Australian Government launched its National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). One of the measures under the agenda was for Australia to introduce a national assessment of the engagement and impact of university research. 

The methodology for EI 2018 was developed following consultation with university and industry stakeholders through a Steering Committee, working groups and a pilot study in 2017. The Engagement and Impact Assessment Pilot Report was released on 1 November 2017. The Pilot Report presented findings from the pilot that informed the methodology for the full assessment. 

EI 2018 was implemented as a companion exercise to Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). The EI 2018 key documents outline the submission requirements for universities that participated in EI 2018. Assessment panel members, comprising a mix of academic and research end-user expertise, completed the assessment.

What are the objectives of EI?

The objectives of EI are:

  • Promoting Engagement and Impact: Rigorously assess research engagement and impact to promote better practice engagement with, and translation of research into benefits for, end-users and the Australian community more broadly.
  • Informing Decisions: Provide a rich and robust source of information on the strategies, practices and benefits of university research engagement and impact to inform and support the needs of university, industry, community and government stakeholders.
  • Demonstrating Success: Provide evidence that Australia’s universities are undertaking valued engagement with research end-users, embedding practices of engagement and impact, and producing research with social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits.
  • Enabling Comparisons: Noting the need for an appropriate calculation methodology, provide a basis for discipline-level comparisons between Australian universities of research engagement and impact performance.

How are the disciplines defined?

For the purposes of EI, disciplines are defined as two-digit Fields of Research (FoRs) codes as identified in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification. Further information about ANZSRC is available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification.

In addition to disciplines defined by ANZSRC, EI 2018 included optional impact studies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and interdisciplinary research, which were not captured by ANZSRC 2008. Following the ERA EI Review and the 2020 revision of ANZSRC, which introduced a new FoR 45 Indigenous studies, future rounds of EI will only assess ANZSRC disciplines. 

What do the EI outcomes tell us?

EI assesses university performance in research engagement and impact within each discipline at each university. The EI data presented in the National Report provides contextual information about Australian university performance and effective strategies for engagement and impact. In addition, the narrative case studies published on the ARC data portal highlight the variety of ways in which universities are approaching engagement and impact across all disciplines, and provide best practice examples to assist universities, research end-users and Government in planning future endeavours.

What are some of the benefits of EI?

EI provides data about university performance in research engagement and impact that:

  • allows research managers and institutions to identify and reward high-performing areas
  • facilitates strategic planning to further strengthen research engagement and impact in Australian universities
  • provides insights and best-practice examples of research impact
  • informs research end-users in industry and the community about the strengths of prospective university partners
  • helps to identify and promote the contribution that Australia’s universities make to the nation and the world. 

Participation in EI has promoted greater support for the translation of research impact within universities. EI results are also used by universities to promote their strengths in engagement and impact to a range of stakeholders.

Where can EI presentations be found?

ARC presentations are made available on the website.