Aspect Learning Gain Report 2021

11th October 2021

As Aspect 1.0 comes to a close, we share our Learning Gain report 2021, bringing together three years of insight and good practice on behalf of the Aspect Network members. In this report we focus on the insights gained across the programme, addressing the questions our proposal asked when we submitted it to Research England answering the first Connecting Capability Fund call. That proposal highlighted the challenges of improving academic engagement, building industry engagement, and improving institutional capacity and skills within the Aspect’s members and more widely. Since joining the network, the majority of members have seen increased awareness and activity from their academics interested in pursuing social sciences innovation, with just under half of all members reporting increased innovation pipelines.

In its first year, the Aspect consortium focused on establishing the foundations of the programme, to ensure productive working relationships across the membership and develop a collaborative and ambitious programme of activity. In year two, priorities included the launch a funding scheme for collaborative projects, the launch an Associate Membership model to extend the network benefits to more institutions, and increasing engagement with the social sciences innovation community via a newsletter, annual event, and development of assets for the website. In its final year of Wave 1 CCF funding, the focus has been on the delivery of the funded projects, dissemination of the learnings and resources, production of good practice toolkits, and sustainability planning for the next phase of Aspect.

This annual report aims to:

(i) summarise our current knowledge of good practice in social sciences commercialisation across all Aspect Communities of Practice (CoPs)

(ii) demonstrate the gains made via the Aspect programme

(iii) inform planning of future Aspect initiatives.

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Data for this report comes from an all-member survey, interviews with selected members, and insights from the funded activities. This annual report sits alongside the Aspect Learning Report 2020, which focused on early learnings from Aspect, and complements the Aspect Toolkit, which details how-to guidance generated by the members and CoPs. The audience for this report is the Aspect Steering Group (SG), Operations Group (OG), Brokers, and CoP members from the seven founding members and (at present) 15 associate members, Research England, the Aspect Advisory Board and the broader public.

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