CGHE seminar 80

Freedom and responsibility: researchers’ responses to the impact agenda in the UK and Australia

  • Thursday, 07 Jun 2018 12:30 - 14:00
  • Room 731, UCL Institute of Education
  • Jennifer Chubb, University of York


The management and measurement of the non-academic impact of research has emerged as a strong and consistent theme within the higher education research environment in the UK. This trend has been mirrored in other national contexts, particularly in Australia, where research impact policy is evolving at a similar pace.

The ‘impact agenda’ has sparked discussion, and in some instances controversy, among the academic community and beyond. Critics argue that it is symptomatic of the marketisation of knowledge and that it threatens traditional academic norms and ideals, while its advocates welcome the opportunity to increase the visibility of research beyond academia.

In this presentation, Dr Chubb will explore the response of academics in the UK and Australia towards impact in these two respective national contexts.

While responsibility emerges as a key motivation for engagement with the impact agenda, the pressures of an increasingly competitive research environment can at the same time be seen to negatively affect the integrity of academics.

These effects span disciplinary and national boundaries and reveal two distinctive cultures where affinities between academics whose research has a less instrumental nature appear to contrast with views expressed predominantly from those with an instrumental focus.

These findings have significant implications for national governments, policy makers and funders, as well as for leaders of academic institutions and, of course, for academics themselves.


All seminars are free and open to the public. No advance booking required.


You can register to watch the livestream of this seminar.

Jennifer Chubb

Jennifer Chubb

Jenn has recently been awarded a PhD which explored academic views on the philosophical relationship between knowledge and epistemic responsibility in response to an impact agenda in higher education in the UK and Australia. Jenn’s research interests arise from her academic background in philosophy and ethics and her professional practice within higher education. She has a particular interest in research policy, specifically concepts relating to academic freedom, virtue ethics, value, epistemic responsibility, integrity and the politicisation of knowledge.

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