Exploring Strategies for Impact: riding the wave with the TLRP

AJ Pollard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


At the start of this chapter, I liken TLRP’s impact efforts with surfing. In using this metaphor, I wanted to convey a sense of the vast range of the contexts to which research relates and of the vulnerability of the social practice of enquiry. As with the sea, we have to recognize that contemporary events and demands unfold with enormous power and can easily ‘wipe out’ or even drown a mere researcher. And yet, TLRP experience suggests that ways can be developed for standing up in such situations, of asserting the place of evidence, and of riding the waves. TLRP approached this as a research programme, but a similar stance could be taken by other organisations where there is a commitment to strategic development. I certainly do not claim that TLRP ‘solved how to do it’, but the combination of high quality projects, strategic action and developed infrastructure to support impact activity is certainly worth further consideration by others those with an interest in knowledge mobilisation. I would claim that the conscious combination of these elements made it easier for the participants in TLRP to take opportunities for impact when they presented themselves. As suitable waves came in, they researchers were more likely to be ready.prepared to ride them. To achieve this, the Programme and project teams had to understand and respond to the political context of the UK, to recognize and act within social and cultural understandings of specific stakeholder groups in the sectors to which their projects related and, above all, to take responsibility for the practical mobilization of the knowledge that they had generated. Our experience suggests that such activity is both interesting and worthwhile. As with tackling storm-driven rollers, there is a risk of being carried somewhere you don’t want to go – and you might crash out. But it is also possible that you might really really make an impression.
Translated title of the contributionExploring Strategies for Impact: riding the wave with the TLRP
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge Mobilization and Educational Research
EditorsTara Fenwick, Lesley Farrell
ISBN (Print)9780415614641
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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