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NES1005 : Natural Science Research Impact

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jessica Martin
  • Lecturer: Professor Jeremy Phillipson, Professor Philip McGowan, Dr Matthew Leach, Dr Celine Cano, Professor Sally Shortall, Mr Ryan Woodward, Dr Pete Robertson, Dr Michael Hall, Professor Ian Head, Professor Grant Burgess, Professor William Willats
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aims of this module as follows:
a) To develop knowledge of the wide range of research carried out in the Natural Sciences at Newcastle university, the challenges this research addresses and its impact.
b) To develop an understanding of the reach and significance of research and the researcher’s responsibility for steering and developing the impact (e.g. economic, societal etc.) and
c) To evaluate methods used to monitor and enhance the effectiveness of impactful research and the development of impact case studies.

Outline Of Syllabus

Background -
Every six years, UK higher education institutions are assessed on the quality of the research they produce. In 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact of research was assessed for the first time, with the aim of improving the achievements of the higher education sector, both in undertaking excellent research and in building on this to achieve demonstrable benefits (e.g. to the economy and society). The REF website defines 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’. The assessment of impact was based on expert review of case studies submitted by higher education institutions. Case studies could include any impact that had taken place during the assessment period and was underpinned by excellent research produced by the submitting institution’.

Case studies submitted asked the institutions to clearly explain and demonstrate the impacts through a narrative that included indicators and evidence as appropriate to the case being made, including:

•       The underpinning research and evidence of its quality
•       The way in which the research contributed to the impact
•       The nature and extent of the impact
•       Evidence from independent sources that could be followed up to verify claims made.

The Module
The module will consist of introductory lectures that will introduce the concept of Research Impact. This will be followed by a series of lectures and follow-up workshops based around the impact case studies submitted by SNES for the last REF submission. In preparation for each lecture / workshop you will be expected to read the appropriate case study and some of the supporting research, and then during each workshop you will be able to ask questions about any aspects of the research that you do not understand and join in a discussion on how the impact of the research could be expanded further through greater application or dissemination. These sessions will illustrate the powerful influence of multidisciplinary / interdisciplinary research that attempts to solve some of the challenges addressed by projects within the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES).

Material discussed in the lectures and tutorials will be examined by an online MCQ format in short formative tests at the end of each session and a final summative exam designed to test the breadth of your knowledge of the case studies presented.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion134:0034:00Online quiz via Canvas. Non-synchronous.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:005 x 1 hour online seminars via Canvas. Non-synchronous.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading86:0048:00Online non-synch - lecturer will give students relevant reading for mod topics throughout the semest
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00PiP - info on what students can expect.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk61:006:00This represents the Seminars - 4 PiP plus 2 SO.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars with accompanying case studies, including from the experts who submitted them, provide core knowledge-based content. Workshops and visits (discussion groups and debates) provide knowledge exchange opportunities to develop and enhance knowledge and skills. The seminars and workshops will be recorded and placed on Canvas to enable those students who are unable attend these sessions in person.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination902A100MCQ Theory based exam
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Digital Examination2MFormative assessment of MCQ at end of each workshop
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative assessment at the end of each workshop session will enable student understanding and progress to be monitored throughout this module.

The digital exam (MCQ) will examine theory on research impact methodology and practical applications (all outcomes).

Reading Lists