Some welcome feedback – a warm fuzzy for a cold December day

As I have stated in previous posts, I prepared and edited dozens of case studies for several research institutions for the UKs Research Excellence Framework (REF). Generally, when I have finished my edits, I send them off to the REF team at the university. I may get some feedback that the edits have been accepted and have been useful, but otherwise, that’s it.  Sometimes it can feel a bit anti-climatic as I may have spent days and even weeks researching and absorbing all I can about a case study – I can’t help but feel a little ownership over it. So when I hit the ‘send’ button, I just hope that my changes are helpful, that I haven’t accidentally slaughtered the science in the process and that the review panel will now have a better chance of understanding the importance of this research. But I will never know for sure.

So, when I received this email today from a researcher (who shall remain anonymous), I can’t tell you how excited I was to get this feedback.

Dear Nicola,

 I have wanted for some time to write to you to thank you personally for your input into my impact case for the REF process. I have no idea how you came to be found and I hope that you do not mind my writing to you. However, I was so stunned (and delighted/relieved) by how you managed to transform the written version so wonderfully. The whole REF process has been very painful for me but I remained convinced that the case was limited by my approach to the writing as a scientist. You have done wonders for it. Thank you so much! I owe so many people in the media so many thanks for taking my research and writing about it in accessible terms for the general public, but to you I owe more than most because this has potential to impact into the REF system and therefore the establishment as well.

 All good wishes and many, many thanks

It has been a great privilege to read such a diversity of stories of how science is having an impact…and there have been so many wonderful stories.


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