Outcomes of the research conducted at the University of Edinburgh (2001
to 2007) that have had the most far-reaching impact are a strong
conceptualisation of the whole learning environment (including curricula,
teaching, learning support, and assessment and feedback) and its influence
on the quality of undergraduates' learning. What gave these outcomes added
resonance was a concern for disciplinary distinctiveness as well as more
generic features; an alertness to the pervasive implications for
day-to-day teaching-learning practices of mass 21st-century
higher education; and a focus on enhancing as well as evaluating the
The reach of the impact extends to university teachers, middle and senior
academic managers, local and national bodies with responsibilities for
surveying quality and standards and, albeit less directly, students. Staff
in at least 21 universities in 12 countries have used the Experiences of
Teaching and Learning Questionnaire (ETLQ). The National Student Survey
questionnaire was influenced by the ETLQ, and has continuing UK-wide
impact on teaching through students' retrospective ratings of their
experience. Project outputs were directed towards teaching staff through
workshops, publications and invited presentations, followed by detailed
advice on assessment and feedback of coursework.
The impact is on student equity, retention and success in higher
education (HE). The research has informed national policies: Higher
Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Office for Fair Access
(OFFA), Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Cabinet
Office, Quality Assurance Agency and the National Union of Students.
Findings have influenced institutional policy and practice: 190 examples
of how the conceptual framework generated as part of the research has been
applied, and the impact of the interventions; 14 institutions are engaged
in a three year change programme (2012/13-2014/15) to implement the
findings, impacting on 42 programmes and 4453 level 4 students per year.
Jim Gallacher and Robert Ingram's research on the role of short cycle
higher education (SCHE) has now had a significant impact on the
development of policy in Scotland, within the European Union and beyond.
This has led to initiatives in Scotland to enhance the role of Higher
National Certificates and Diplomas (HNC/Ds), and strengthen articulation
pathways between colleges and universities. This work has also been
recognised at an international level in shaping policy within the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and CEDEFOP
(European Centre for Development of Vocational Training) on the
'permeability' between vocational and academic qualifications.
A corpus of research developed over twenty years brings together
experience and expertise of staff, students and researchers at Birmingham
City University in the Early Years (EY) cluster. This has had effects on
practice in contexts in which national and international EY policy,
leadership and pedagogy are developed and produced, enacted and contested.
It has affected specific areas of learning and development, e.g.
mathematics, including thinking skills, creativity, information and
Research that was policy, programme and issue-focused has stimulated
discussion and action, locally, nationally and internationally, for
instance in Europe, Central and South-east Asia and Australia.
The Lecturer Self-efficacy Project is a national and
international collaboration led by Professor John Sharp at Bishop
Grosseteste University (UK) and Dr Brian Hemmings at Charles Sturt
University (Australia). The project was initiated to develop a diagnostic
instrument or resource to measure confidence in core academic
function (research, teaching, other) with a view to enhancing
professional practice across the UK Higher Education sector. The Project
claims reach and significance in impact on practitioners and the development
of professional services at organisational and departmental levels.
This was achieved by stimulating debate and challenging
conventional wisdom, thereby influencing the management of
professional standards and guidelines on recruitment and training and by
using research findings to define best practice and formulate policy
towards research capacity building and strategic
The research undertaken by Professor Sue Bloxham and colleagues has had a
significant impact on the approach to assessment in Higher Education. It
has influenced practitioners, universities and advisory/regulatory bodies,
providing advice for University tutors on communicating assessment
expectations and contributing to national body and university guidance to
encourage student learning and consistent marking. The research has helped
tutors understand their individual `standards framework' involving tacit,
norm-referenced knowledge, holistic judgement and local negotiation of
shared standards as well as the importance of dialogic, formative
assessment opportunities for communicating their standards to students.
This has led to improvements in assessment policies, practice and national
guidelines in the UK.
This case study details the impact of a specific area of original
research carried out as part of the Unit's wider commitment to pedagogy.
It shows how research and development of the use of VLEs at the HEI has
had a significant influence beyond the HEI in the following ways:
In 2008-2009 the UK was subject to legal infraction proceedings at the
European Court of Justice
(ECJ) for allegedly failing to implement the European Union's Urban
Directive (UWWTD). Research by the Institute of Estuarine and Coastal
Studies, Hull (IECS) for
the Environment Agency (EA)/Defra provided evidence to the UK Government
for its defence
against these allegations. The research consisted of:
- literature/data reviews and collection and analysis of critical
evidence from the Humber.
- co-ordinating workshops and convening an expert panel of sufficient
opinion to counteract the European Court of Justice allegations.
In December 2009 the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the UK.
Our research therefore
helped to save very significant, unnecessary capital investment in
nutrient removal technology for
sewage treatment nationally and in the Yorkshire and Humber region
especially. The UK
government thus avoided the possibility of major European Commission fines
of up to €703,000
per day, or €256m per annum, for infraction of the Urban Water-water
Treatment Directive .
Professor Claire Callender's timely research has informed the policy
debate about financial support for part-time undergraduates in England.
Her research significantly raised awareness and understanding within
government, and more widely, about the case for reform by highlighting the
deleterious effects of the pre-2012/13 funding system on the supply of,
and demand for, part-time study. It influenced major changes in student
funding arrangements for part-time undergraduates introduced in 2012/13,
and modified their on-going development. Policymakers have benefitted from
her research, alongside higher education (HE) institutions, HE
stakeholders and practitioners, and part-time students eligible for the
The research described below has impacted on policy and practice relating to Personal
Development Planning (PDP) - the structured and supported process by which learners reflect
upon their own development and plan their future development. The impact has primarily been on
the UK Higher Education (HE) sector, but has also extended beyond the UK and into other types of
organisation (e.g. graduate recruitment networks). More specifically, the research has: shaped the
guidance offered to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
on implementing and developing PDP policies and processes for students; enhanced the practice
of PDP practitioners; stimulated debate among these practitioners; and informed the development
of resources for these practitioners. This has had an overarching positive effect on learner
development in educational settings and beyond.