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Research Engagement

The societal benefit provided by or linked to research spending is important to external funders. The National Science Foundation calls them Broader Impacts. USDA emphasizes applied efforts that promote economic stability, teaching and learning, human capital, and community outcomes. The Department of Health and Human Services which includes NIH integrates the requirement for impacts into the research outcomes. At UT we call it all Research Engagement.

Our office will work with you on all phases of your Research Engagement activities:

  • During the proposal stage, to help you conceptualize Research Engagement activities that are integrated into your proposal, and assist you in crafting an impacts statement that clearly and effectively communicates your vision.
  • Once your proposal is funded, advising and consulting on implementation, compliance, assessment and dissemination of results related to the engagement activities. If you have chosen to participate in one of our stuctured opportunities, then our staff will also work with you on implementation.

Why Research Engagement?

Research can serve as an invitation for external stakeholders to engage in true partnerships with the university. We need a greater emphasis on aligning our research strengths and mission with real and positive changes in the broader community. Translating our research into how it can benefit society is important to improve the public’s capacity to make informed decisions on issues vital to the health and wellbeing of Tennessee and beyond.

What Support Does UT Offer?

Through ORE and the Division of Student Success, we have brought together several areas to form cohesive support for your proposal. This assembled list of projects are ones for which our staff can provide administrative and logistical assistance to support your efforts, including estimated budgets and on-campus connections. These projects range from simple to complex based on your level of ambition. We are also open to working with you on new ideas you may have or that may provide a closer fit to your research objectives.

Engaged Scholarship (ORE)

  • Work with a community partner for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge, connected to your research project
  • Find more information about Engaged Scholarship at engagement.utk.edu

Undergraduate Research (Student Success)

  • Host UT undergraduates in research during the academic year
  • Host a summer research program (usually 2–12 UT or non-UT students)
  • Offer a 1–2 week intensive summer program on a focused topic for undergraduates and graduate students
  • Consider a summer transition or research program for community college students
  • Be a judge for UT’s annual research exhibition event, EURēCA
  • Find more information about UT’s undergraduate research program at ugresearch.utk.edu

Pre-college Research Excellence Programs (Student Success)

  • Speak at local schools/offer hands-on activities at schools
  • Mentor high school or middle school science fair projects
  • Offer internships for high school students to conduct research at UT
  • Offer a 1–week overnight camp as a high school intensive introduction to your field
  • Offer a day camp for 1–4 weeks for high school students around your research topic or major discipline area.
  • Be a judge for the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering fair (SASEF)
  • Be a judge for the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (TJSHS)
  • Teach at the Governor’s School for Sciences and Engineering held at UT every June, either in a discipline area or offering an interesting personal and/or professional development opportunity
  • Be an event coordinator at the State Science Olympiad Tournament held at UT every April
  • Find more information on the Pre-college Research Excellence Programs at prep.utk.edu

Graduate Student and Postdoc Research Training (ORE)

  • Ensure your students receive all necessary training to be success in research
  • Integrate the professional success of your advanced students and trainees into your outcomes
  • Support their engagement of undergraduates and pre-college students through research mentoring or service activities

Resources for Research Engagement

NSF Overview of Broader Impacts—NSF’s Office of Integrative Activities provides many recourses for better understanding Broader Impacts

Guiding Principles on Broader Impacts—Offered by the National Association on Broader Impacts, this downloadable PDF provides an overview of the guiding principles and questions around Broader Impacts for NSF Proposals.

COSEE Broader Impacts Wizard—Resource from COSEE (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) which takes users through a five-step process to create a BI statement. (The initial video is 8 minutes, but does a wonderful job explaining what broader impacts are and why they are important.

Framework for Evaluating Impacts of Broadening Participation Projects—a report from an NSF workshop on the best practices and policies for evaluating NSF Broader Impacts projects

A Scientist’s Guide to Achieving Broader Impacts through K-12 STEM Collaboration—a collaborative guide developed to assist scientists in planning Broader Impacts activities in the K-12 age group. Partly supported by the NSF.

Developing Broader Impacts at UT—This PDF provides a list of activities which faculty can leverage in their research engagement activities.