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Tag: University of Michigan

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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License to explore – my alt-ac story and three top tips for professional Fulbright applicants

I have been asked a lot about how I ended up here in the US, working on a project on practical humanities. A huge thank you for that opportunity goes to the Fulbright Finland Foundation that is giving me a license to explore a new topic of interest at this point in my career. For any professionals in Finland looking to tweak their job settings, I can warmly recommend the ASLA-Fulbright Mid-Career Professional Program – at the point of writing this, the next application round is about to open! Of course, the topic of practical humanities didn’t just appear out…

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Practical humanities need interdisciplinary collaboration

If research impact is not so much a case of direct collision but rather a series of ripple effects, it usually happens through other people. A traditional route for academic impact is through publications, and much of societal impact also happens through texts, such as policy briefs and popular media. Another familiar – but too often overlooked – path to impact is created through teaching in different settings. Colleagues, students, and other people interested in your work pick up your ideas and research results and transform them to their own purposes. Their work gets picked up by next group of…

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