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Impact Manifesto

Our research impact goes beyond academic life. We're helping to make our world a safer and more equitable place for everyone.

Our impact manifesto

* Manifesto: ‘a written statement of the beliefs, aims, and policies of an organisation’ (CED)


Research in Geography, Politics, and Sociology is guided by the values of the school, namely a concern with issues of social, economic, environmental, and political justice AND a commitment to the promotion of equality, fairness, and diversity. Our approach to research impact is similarly guided by these same values.

While we broadly recognise the REF definition of research impact as ‘…an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia’, it does so through the lens of a social justice agenda. Accordingly, the school is in a unique position to contribute to both the HASS faculty and wider university justice agenda, with clear expertise on working with North East, UK, and international partners.

We recognise that research impact can take a wide variety of forms including those that encourage social justice/equality at the level of the individual, the group, communities, organisations, as well as in the policy sphere. In terms of place engagement, the school equally values impact at the local, national, and international level.

Geography, Politics, and Sociology also does not prioritise any one type or form of research impact. Research impact at the social, cultural and creative level, is just as important as creating change in the economic and political spheres, and raising awareness and changing thinking are as valid as changing policy.

Much of our impact is embedded in relationships with a range of partners across sectors who play key roles in co-setting our impact agendas and practices. As such, the school encourages innovative forms of engagement and impact methodologies (i.e. impact co-production, interdisciplinary approaches, working with vulnerable or less powerful constituencies, etc).

Finally, the school also recognises that not all research engagement may lead to impact, and not all research in our School is suited to create impact, or is undertaken for that reason.

Aims and policy:

Geography, Politics, and Sociology aims to ‘organically’ support and facilitate impact research concerned with a social justice agenda through:

  • raising awareness of the school’s impact philosophy and the diversity of forms research impact can take (i.e. through strategic impact workshops, research ‘away days’, staff mentoring/ induction, appointment of UoA impact coordinators, etc)
  • facilitating partnerships and sharing best impact practice on how to work productively with varied organisations, as well as moving towards more collective impact projects/ cases
  • showcasing examples of exemplary our research impact on our school website and on university impact webpages
  • encouraging/support School staff, at all levels, to apply for external and internal (Faculty, University, school) research impact schemes/funding
  • including the creation of research impact as a valid criterion for research leave applications
  • providing sufficient time and financial resources for all those that want to pursue research engagement and impact (REF or otherwise) through the school workload model and research budget

Robert Hollands (Geography, Politics, and Sociology Research Director and School Impact Champion) January 8th, 2020