Measuring the societal impacts of Universities’ Research into Arts and Humanities
The aim of this project was to develop better ways of evaluating arts and humanities research (AHR) that are more consistent across projects and disciplines and yet take account of the implicit or societal value and not just the measurable economic impact.
This was broken down into five key objectives:
- Develop a conceptual framework that would show how a range of societal stakeholders concerned with innovation place a value on AHR.
- Systematically uncover the implicit valuations made so far by key decision-makers that underpin the widespread failure to agree a common approach to valuing AHR.
- Map key stakeholder groups’ interactions within wider innovation and political systems to determine how AHR’s value is socially constructed.
- Consider alternative methodologies for valuing AHR that transcend directly quantifiable outputs and economic impacts to reflect these implicit valuations.
- Disseminate HERAVALUE’s findings to improve policies, instruments and indicators for AHR evaluation and contribute to debates over AHR’s wider value in the context of a global economic downturn.
HERAVALUE was inspired by the failure of policymakers to measure the ‘public value’ of AHR despite efforts to do so at national and European level. The resulting impasse had a detrimental effect on AHR funding, especially in the wake of the global banking crisis. The failure to reach agreement over valuing AHR increased its disadvantage compared with science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) disciplines, for which there were much better agreed high level indicators for assessing value.
Dr Paul Benneworth
University of Twente