Academic Incentives Report

Academic Incentives and Research Impact: Developing Reward and Recognition Systems to Better People’s Lives

This paper outlines new academic incentives at the system-, institution-, and person-level that, if implemented, could make proving societal impact an integral part of the research process.

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An assessment by Dr. Jonathan Grant for AcademyHealth’s Paradigm Project offers new strategies to increase the societal impact that health research can have on the community and critiques the existing academic reward structure that determines the career trajectories of so many academics—including, tenure, peer-review publication, citations, and grant funding, among others. The new assessment illustrates how these incentives can lead researchers to produce studies as an end-goal, rather than pursuing impact by applying the work in real world settings.

Dr. Grant also outlines new system-, institution-, and person-level changes to academic incentives that, if implemented, could make societal impact an integral part of the research process. Among the changes offered by Dr. Grant are tying a percentage of grant funding to the impact the research has on the community, breaking from the tenure model to incentivize ongoing development and quality research, and encouraging academics themselves to prioritize social impact when submitting or reviewing research and grant proposals.

Hear more from Dr. Grant on this topic in the video interview below:


Jonathan Grant, B.Sc., Ph.D.

Director and Founder - Different Angles

Jonathan Grant, B.Sc., Ph.D., is a professor of public policy at King’s College London and director and founde... Read Bio