The impact of impact: How research value is created and assessed in the UK, US and Australia

Research Mind Curious Light Bulb Science Brain graphic


The project will compare academic cultures in three countries involved in the international push for the assessment of research impact; the UK, US and Australia, which utilise substantially different assessment models. The project will develop a conceptual framework of research impact and its measurement. It will identify the effects of national research impact assessment policies and practices, and ascertain how they shape the ways research is done and their consequences for knowledge. By combining content analysis of interview data and in-depth case studies with document and corpus analysis of publicly available impact data, it will provide an integrated approach to international comparative research.


The project aims to contribute insights and findings through several publications in public policy, research evaluation and sociology journals, academic conferences and various outlets for wider audiences.


The project will:

  • Compare three national research contexts to understand how research impact conceptualised, produced and legitimised in response to the criteria of formal evaluations
  • Offer insights and recommendations on national research systems that seek to improve accountability in public research.


Economic and Social Research Council (UK) Standard Grant 2021-2024


Dr Kate Williams (Principal Investigator)

Professor Jonathan Grant (Co-Investigator)


Dr Kate Williams