Impact training course
Researchers have an increasing pressure to translate their research into societal impact and influence policy-making. Simultaneously, often science and policy appear to be worlds apart with different language, timescales and culture. Our impact training helps researchers to find new impactful ways to interact with society.
What do we do?
Our training addresses both the theory and practice of impact work. We cover topics such as the historical evolution of science for policy, the core characteristics of policy processes, impact windows, and the diversity of roles a researcher can have in impact work.
We provide an up-to-date and realistic picture of opportunities for impact and help researchers to understand emerging challenges and avenues for overcoming them. Our training features presentations from experienced researchers and representatives from the government, who share their own insights and tips. In the workshop part participants will also draft their own interaction plans. The training is especially useful for postgraduate students and young researchers still in the process of finding their personal impact pathways. We also provide training for other impact trainers.
Our training philosophy
For decades interaction between science and policy has been excessively viewed as a linear one-way transfer of information or as science advice adopting a narrowly framed Q&A format. However, in the 21st century we are witnessing a paradigm shift, with the relationship being seen as a more complicated continuous interaction involving both direct as well as indirect impact. Understanding this shift is also important for the success of impact work.
- Expand impact mindset beyond science communication: Science communication skills are still often useful in turning research into impact, but they are only a part of the big picture. The present world of research impact is increasingly community-oriented, and individual impact superstars are rapidly becoming an extinct species. Often it can be enough to connect to larger communities and networks engaged in impact work.
- See opportunities for long-term impact and indirect impact: Impact work should be seen as a long-term activity where opportunity windows may emerge in surprising ways. Research published years ago may become relevant due to surrounding societal changes. As well, not all impact is direct, evident and quantifiable. The impacts can range from expanded societal mindsets to more evidence-informed laws and policies.
- Reduce pressure by accepting plurality of disciplines and research approaches: The prerequisites for impact depend to a large extent on the field and topic of research, and impact objectives should be proportionate to these. Our training aims to reduce the pressure that researchers feel: not everyone needs to know everything and not everyone fits in a single tight impact framework.
Completed training courses
In May 2021 we organized the first Impact Training Course with the Young Academy Finland. The training reached enormous attention and the registration needed to be closed when attendants exceeded over 130 people in only few hours. One third of the participants where post doctoral researchers and the rest where doctoral students.
In March 2022 we organized a Young scientists’ roles in European science-for-policy training in collaboration with the Young Academy Europe. Around 50 young researchers attended to the training from all over Europe.
We provide training also for future trainers
The Joint Research Center of the European Comission has created a researcher’s training package in societal impact work. A working pair from every EU country has been trained to execute this courses. We have the qualification to organize this training in Finland and are providing this training mode to research organizations.
The training provided a comprehensive overview of a subject that I myself had a clearly outdated and too narrow and one-sided view of. In future, I will have a better ablility to explain the potential impact of my own research, for example in grant applications. I will soon be doing my PhD and should start thinking about post-doc research topics. The training helped me to think about the kind of societal issues I would like to focus my career on.
– Feedback from the May 2021 course attendant