I am at my desk, admiring the clear blue Taizhou sky, the birds singing in the trees, the clouds like cottonwool, the smoke rising gently from the piggery, and the sight of the helicopter coming in to land.

But enough of the bucolic life, dear Reader. I must fill you in on the Impact Agenda for REF 2020.

It is true, dear Reader, that REF 2014 happened only yesterday. But we cannot dine out forever on our success. No. We must turn our backs on ancient history, as well as classics, languages ancient and modern, philosophy, philology and all forms of the creative arts. We must look to the brighter future. Life will become more jolly, dear comrades Reader.

Never fear, dear Reader. Truly, I have never written anything for which I would have been unable, if asked beforehand, to suggest its potential impact.*

For example, my 30-volume annotated dictionary of Syllabic Runes is used by the dialect coach of a leading fantasy epic TV series. Highlights from my many edited festschriften are often to be found in the latest Waitrose magazine (‘Readers’ recipes’ section). And my recent blog post on entrepreneurialism in HE achieved at least 200 hits, not all of them from the same Taizhou IP address.

You may wish to speak of your research as the slow and painstaking accretion of deep knowledge over many decades, often through an act of solitary contemplation, to enhance the sum of human knowledge and to bring intangible, unquantifiable, and largely unanticipated benefits for the common good. Please dismiss these notions. Impact is what counts.

But I must leave you, dear Reader. There has been a Big Bang outside. I expect it will be poor Prof Haldane,** falling off his bar stool in the SCR yet again.


*I merely quote the head of the AHRC, dear Reader.

**Poor, dear Richard (that’s 1st Viscount Haldane to you).


2 thoughts on “A Big Bang

  1. How true the old adage is that it is the exception that proves the rule, dear Ada: my own research, which won me the Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur in 2007, brought tangible, quantifiable, and largely anticipated benefits for the common good in finally identifying textual elements which can be exploited, in expert hands only, as a demarcation between the delusional and the severely delusional. My greater contribution has been to mathematics, of course, but I was pleased to be able to offer the nascent field of sociolinguistical psychology the benefit of a trained mind.

    Other commentators, I humbly realise,will have done more.

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