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Beyond the Campus: rethinking research engagement and impact

LAB can help you increase the public engagement and impact of your research



LAB offers a range of services to improve the public engagement and impact of university research and show that this area of work needs a refresh.

The outputs of academic research are often cloistered within academic institutions and publications. Lectures, seminars, journal articles, even books are designed and delivered within a culture whose form, language, pricing and location exclude non-experts and the non-academic.

At LAB, we believe it’s a great shame for academics and the wider public that such valuable work is not more widely shared. Important findings can build on our collective knowledge, enrich our shared cultures and advance new information, theories and ideas. But this is only possible if research is made accessible.

Although researchers have limited time to focus on impact outside of academia and often don’t receive sufficient support or advice, funding institutions are increasingly anxious to promote research engagement and sometimes require evidence of impact beyond the usual academic circles.

Journal articles (often jargon-heavy and hidden behind a paywall) simply aren’t enough for today’s audiences: the general public, journalists, policy makers, politicians, grassroots workers, academics. We need think more progressively about how to develop creative ways to present this research, and consider involving organisations and individuals skilled in delivering the information, in order to increase its reach. If a journalist can’t access the research, how can they share it with the pubic? If policymakers don’t encounter these papers and cannot easily absorb their content, how can they implement this knowledge? If a reader feels excluded from the language of research, how can they connect to the subject and how can they act upon the findings?

LAB has put together a list of REI services on offer, which you can download and share with your networks. Click on the links below to see more.

With over 30 years’ experience in publishing and media, and existing as a charity which straddles academic and public circles, we believe LAB can provide support, advice and key services in delivering research impact campaigns. Our over 150 published books are known for their non-technical and accessible language and format; our website attracts a diverse, international audience; our YouTube channel playlists provide analysis and context and our social media engages individuals from multiple sectors in important discussion.

REI at the Society of Latin American Studies Conference 2021

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At SLASVirtual2021, LAB council member and King’s College London Professor Cathy McIlwaine chaired a discussion alongside LAB clients and contributors, Dr Antonio Ioris of Cardiff University and Dr Katy Jenkins of Northumbria University, titled Beyond the Campus: Rethinking Research Engagement and Impact.

During the roundtable, Dr Ioris stressed:

We cannot forget the legacies of colonialism when thinking about research impacting those beyond the campus.

Cathy McIlwaine highlighted the importance of measuring public engagement beyond the academy, and Katy Jenkins added:

As well as making an impact on the lives and livelihoods of people who we work with directly, it’s essential to be able to share that work and those impacts with a wider audience, both here in the UK and in Latin America.

She told the group:

I’ve admired LAB’s work since I was an undergraduate in the ’90s so I wish I’d known it was possible to develop a more formal partnership with LAB when I began this project.

To find out more about LAB’s current REI work with Cardiff University and King’s College London, head to and read about our new podcasting project. You can download and share LAB’s list of REI services.

Main image: Louise Morris interviews Pavel Núñez. Photo by Pierre Fromentin.