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Engagement and Impact Assessment

ERA EI Refelections


EI assesses how well researchers engage with end-users of research. It also assesses how well universities are translating research into impacts beyond academia including:

  • economic,
  • social,
  • environmental and,
  • cultural. 

The inaugural Engagement and Impact Assessment took place in 2018 (EI 2018).

The results of EI 2018 are presented in the Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018-19 National Report. The report and the highly rated impact studies are available via the ARC Data Portal.

Key documents for EI 2018 as well as for the EI 2017 pilot are available at Past EI Evaluations

The ARC undertook a review of EI (and its companion exercise Excellence in Research for Australia) during 2019 and 2020. The aim was to ensure that it continued to reflect the world’s best practice in research evaluation as well as responding to the needs of the university sector. 

 ARC Data Portal

The ARC Data Portal contains:

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: Provide a basis for discipline-level comparisons between Australian universities of research engagement and impact performance.

How are the disciplines defined?

When assessing EI, disciplines are defined as two-digit Fields of Research (FoRs) codes. These codes are identified in the  Australian and New Zealand Standard Research 2020 Classification. Further information about ANZSRC 2020 can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website (Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification)

EI 2018 used the ANZSRC 2008 classification to define the disciplines for assessment. Optional impact studies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and interdisciplinary research were also included. After the ERA EI Review and the 2020 revision of ANZSRC, a new FoR 45 code for Indigenous studies was introduced. Future rounds of EI will only assess ANZSRC 2020 disciplines.

What do the EI outcomes tell us?

EI assesses university performance in research engagement and impact. The assessment is done within each discipline at each university. The EI data is presented in the National Report. This information shows how Australian universities perform in engagement and impact. The narrative case studies are published on the ARC data portal. These case studies highlight the variety of ways universities are approaching engagement and impact across all disciplines. They also highlight best practice examples to assist future planning by universities, research end-users and Government.

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. Universities use EI results to promote their strengths in engagement and impact to a range of stakeholders.

Where can EI presentations be found?

ARC presentations are available on the website.

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