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Tag: societal impact

Societal impact equals research in service of society – but what society?

What is the “society” we talk about when we talk about the societal impact of research? What does it entail, what kinds of entities does it consist of, and who does it include? The discourse on societal impact that I have been immersed in as a research management professional has been more or less centered on business collaboration and commercialization of research results, policymaking, and life-long learning for professional and personal development. But in my interviews at the University of Michigan and MIT I have been struck by the prevalence of the level of community and civil society. The Detroit…

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Community-engaged research on the Detroit River

What does literary theory have to do with the Detroit River? A lot, it turns out! The Detroit River Story Lab is a great example of what practical humanities looks like – in practice. It is a collectively led interdisciplinary project at the University of Michigan. It is also, importantly, a partnership between several UM schools and colleges and a whole range of local organizations on both sides of the Detroit River. I interviewed David Porter, professor of English and Comparative Literature, who founded the Lab in his interest to explore new, more public-facing ways of doing research in the…

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