The Mathematical Institute recognizes the importance of the impact its work has in many arenas, including academic, government, industry, public engagement and outreach, and drives the development and optimization of impact by encouraging academics to think about the impact, both inside and outside academia, or their past, current and future research, and providing support for those who wish to exploit their results. The department also provides support in the following ways.
Promoting an environment conducive to realizing impact by
- forging new interdisciplinary research links between mathematics and other academic disciplines;
- identifying areas of mutual interest where mathematics can be fruitfully applied;
- ensuring that cutting-edge mathematics is available to those whose research projects can benefit from it;
- designing and delivering training seminars and interdisciplinary workshops;
- organising training seminars in other departments, where new mathematical methods will be showcased;
- organising interdisciplinary workshops, including in wet science departments;
- promoting follow-up from workshops through to initiating cross-department proposals for funding (see below);
- providing cross-departmental and cross-divisional input on impact strategy and results;
- bringing together peers and senior colleagues to deliver workshops;
- contributing to the establishment of best practice for interdisciplinary activity;
- encouraging use of relevant central university resources (eg the "How to increase impact and income" seminar); and
- encouraging academic staff to undertake consultancy for external organizations.
Promoting impact through engagement with external organizations by
- initiating, managing and expanding the interface between mathematical sciences and industry, involving other departments where appropriate;
- organising teams of academics to go out to visit industrial representatives;
- developing the CASE studentship portfolio;
- enhancing knowledge transfer for and encouraging industrial involvement in MSc courses;
- maximizing use of the KTS scheme;
- supporting secondments of research staff to industry; and
- where appropriate, involving industrial beneficiaries and collaborators in the design of the research to maximise the potential up-take and application of the research.
Developing public engagement & outreach activities by
- requesting all applicants to the department's Platform grant fund to consider holding a public outreach event and providing necessary funds;
- encouraging workshops that provide information dissemination;
- encouraging public engagement activities;
- promoting the preparation of publications summarising research outcomes in a language accessible to beneficiaries;
- encouraging and providing technical support for websites and interactive media that engage the public; and
- providing financial support for the activities of the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science.
Identifying deliverables and milestones by
- collecting website statistics (eg software download counts) and other relevant data;
- ensuring that timescales for delivering impact is set out within research funding applications;
- for large-scale research funding, monitoring and evaluating the impact every year;
- together with research group heads, identifying impact and contribution to potential impact;
- maintaining a comprehensive database of all impact-related activity; and
- making recommendations for areas of activity to be followed up and, in that sense, influencing the research portfolio.
Additional support for maximizing impact
The department has a Research Facilitation group of three, who, in relation to research funding applications, have example impact plans and case studies covering both applied and pure mathematics. The materials are sent to all research funding applicants, together with an impact guide. The department recognises the importance that the funding councils currently place on the impact of publicly funded research, and it is hoped that our approach serves to emphasise the importance of impact and help ensure that real and potential impacts are both demonstrated and supported.
Research Facilitation are also available for consultation on the commercialization of intellectual property arising from research, particularly in relation to academic consultancy, patenting and licensing. The Universitys technology transfer company ISIS Innovation is also available for consultation on such matters. Where such opportunities for commercial exploitation are evident at the point of research funding application, Research Facilitation should be alerted. Following the award of research funding, Oxford University Innovation will be involved as appropriate.