Articles

Gender, Sexuality and Non-Academic Impact: Exploring the Role of Gender and Sexuality (Studies) in the 2021 “Research Excellence Framework”

Author
  • Florian Vanlee (Ghent University)

Abstract

By analyzing a purposeful sample of ‘Impact Cases’ submitted for the 2021 iteration of the UK’s ‘Research Excellence Framework’ (REF2021), this study first demonstrates how gender and sexuality feature in constructions of UK universities’ ‘non-academic impact’. It highlights how both are key ‘secondary impact areas’, mobilized across disciplines to articulate the ‘breadth’ of their contribution. Then, it establishes gender and sexuality studies’ prominence as an ‘impactful field’ in the social sciences and humanities, illustrating how associated research is understood as particularly valuable beyond academia. Finally, studying how Impact Cases thematically focused on gender and/or sexuality motivate their ‘impact need’ and report on their ‘impact arguments’ highlights key narrative elements – reflecting commonplace pathways to impact for gender and sexuality studies. Critically reviewing the findings in the light of today’s growing emphasis on ‘impact’ in research governance, the paper reflects on what is at stake for the field.

Keywords: Research Excellence Framework, REF, Societal impact evaluation, Science studies, Gender and sexuality studies

How to Cite:

Vanlee, F., (2024) “Gender, Sexuality and Non-Academic Impact: Exploring the Role of Gender and Sexuality (Studies) in the 2021 “Research Excellence Framework””, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 11(1), 50-67. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/digest.86011

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Published on
24 Jun 2024
Peer Reviewed