Jennifer Chubb



  • 1999 - 2002: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Philosophy, University of Leeds
  • 2010 - awarded July 2017: PhD, University of York


I have recently completed my PhD which explored the moral relationship between knowledge and public duty in response to the alleged instrumentalisation of knowledge through an impact agenda. I am interested in concepts relating to academic freedom, virtue ethics, value, epistemic responsibility,  integrity and the politicisation of knowledge.

My research interests arise from my academic background in philosophy and ethics and my professional practice within Higher Education.  I have a particular interest in research policy, specifically research ethics and impact, and deliver training, talks and development activities in a variety of institutions, nationally and internationally.




Instrumentalism and Epistemic Responsibility: Researchers and the Impact Agenda in the UK and Australia

The management and measurement of the non-academic impact of research has emerged as a strong and consistent theme within the higher education research environment in the UK. This trend has been mirrored in other national contexts, particularly in Australia, where research impact policy is evolving at a similar pace. The ‘impact agenda’ - a move to assess the ways in which investment in academic research delivers measurable socio-economic benefit - has sparked discussion, and in some instances controversy, amongst the academic community and beyond. Critics argue that it is symptomatic of the marketisation of knowledge and that it threatens traditional academic norms and ideals, whilst its advocates welcome the opportunity to increase the visibility of research beyond academia.

In my thesis, I explore the response of academics in the UK and Australia to the impact phenomenon in these two respective national contexts. Adopting a case study approach, using interviews with mid-senior career academics (n=51), I drew my findings both inductively and deductively using thematic analysis. The thesis contributes to the relatively small but emerging body of scholarly research into academics’ perceptions of research impact.

Analysis shows that considerations of research impact have profound effects on academic behaviour and identity. Increased focus on justifying the value of research affects how academics feel about their roles and responsibilities. An association with knowledge and its utility dominates academic perceptions and is seen to be in direct tension with a strong sense of epistemic responsibility. Whilst responsibility emerges as a key motivation for engagement with the impact agenda, the pressures of an increasingly competitive research environment can be seen to negatively affect the integrity of academics. These effects span disciplinary and national boundaries and reveal two distinctive cultures where affinities between academics whose research has a less instrumental nature, appear to contrast with views expressed predominantly from those with an instrumental focus. Analysis reveals complex diversity across the disciplines in how impact is understood and contextualised, indicative of a new clustering of academic disciplines, different to the traditional divide between arts and sciences yet reminiscent of a pure/applied distinction. Despite a persistent theme of resistance, it is perhaps in the acknowledgement and understanding of the diversity in disciplinary responses that the potential for the impact agenda to bring enhanced intellectual credibility to applied research can be explored, providing greater motivation for the disciplines to work together for maximum impact. These findings have significant implications for national governments, policy makers and funders, as well as for leaders of academic institutions and, of course, academics themselves.


Professor Paul Wakeling


Chubb, J.A. (2013) WUN (World University Network) Mobility grant (£2500). Data collection visit to Western Australia.



Chubb, J., Watermeyer, R. and Wakeling, P. (2017) Fear and loathing in the academy? The role of emotion in response to an impact agenda in the UK and Australia. Higher Education Research and Development, 36 (3).

Chubb, J. and Watermeyer, R. (2016) Artifice or integrity in the marketization of research impact?: Investigating the moral economy of (pathway to) impact statements within research funding proposals in the UK and Australia. Studies in Higher Education.

Chubb, J. (2014).  How does the impact agenda fit with attitudes and ethics that motivate research? In P.M. Denicolo (ed), Success in Research: Achieving Impact in Research. (pp. 20 - 32). London: Sage.

Chubb, J. (2014). What skills are needed to be an impactful researcher? In P.M. Denicolo (ed), Success in Research: Achieving Impact in Research. (pp. 113-126). London: Sage.



Chubb, J.A (2017) 'Instrumentalism and epistemic responsibility: Researchers and the impact agenda' Epistemic Vice & Corruption, University of Nottingham, Department of Philosophy two day conference 12/​13 September 2017.

Chubb, J.A (2017) Public Engagement and Impact: not just for the REF Research and Innovation Conference. University of Derby. May 19th 2017.

Chubb, J.A (2017) Research Impact - The National Picture. Lancaster University. Professorial programme, 25th April 2017.

Chubb, J.A (2016) 'Pathways to Impact in Philosophy'. Durham University, Philosophy Department Impact away day. November 2016.

Epistemic Value, Freedom and Accountability' Politics and International Studies Impact Conference, University of Warwick. 22 November 2016

Chubb, J.A. (2016) 'The Politicisation of Knowledge Policies: Actors in National Arenas​: ​Research with impact: Academic perspectives from the UK and Australia’ European Consortium for Political Research Conference, Prague. 10th September 2016

Chubb, J.A. (2015) SRHE Newer Researchers Conference paper accepted:  'Research with impact: Academic perspectives from the UK and Australia'. December 2015.

Chubb, J.A. (2014)  ‘Research With Impact’, Staff seminar, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.

Chubb, J.A. (2014) ‘The Process of Collaborative Innovation: Planning a Pathway to Impact’. Keynote address at the ‘Inspire’ Inter- Uni Summer School Conference, Curtin University, Western Australia.

Chubb, J.A. (2014) ‘Pathways to Impact’. Seminar for Research Staff, University of Manchester.

Chubb. J.A. (2013) ‘Pathways to Impact’. Research Staff Conference 2014, the University of Manchester.

Chubb, J.A. (2013) ‘Perceptions of the impact agenda and barriers to engagement: interim findings’. Talk at UKCGE ‘Impact in Post graduate Education’ conference event at the University of Warwick.

Chubb, J. A. (2013) ‘Planning a pathway to impact’. Seminar at the University of Western Australia.

Chubb, J.A (2013) ‘Public Engagement – What’s in it for PGRs and HEIs?’ The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and the SRHE, Postgraduate Issues Network hosted a joint seminar to explore the impact of public engagement on Postgraduate Researchers and their institutions. Talk given at the Society for Research into Higher Education, London.

Chubb, J.A. (2012) ‘Pathways to Impact in the Arts and Humanities’. One day seminar at the University of Western Australia.

Chubb, J.A (2012) ‘Pathways to Impact in the Sciences’. One day seminar at the University of Western Australia.


Teaching experience

  • Research Ethics and Integrity: 2010 – Present: University of York, Researcher Development Team
  • Introduction to Learning and Teaching: 2010 – Present
  • Research with Impact: 2010 – Present
  • Grant Writing: 2010 – Present
  • Public Engagement of Research: 2010- Present
  • Impact PGCAP: 2012- Present
  • Impact Research Leaders: 2012 – Present
  • Building External Partnerships: 2010 – Present
  • Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer training: 2007- 2010: University of Leeds, Staff Development Unit
  • Enterprise and Employability: 2004 – 2007, Leeds College of Music
  • PGWT for MA programme
    • MA Research Methods in Education (Seminars)
    • MA Summer Data Analysis Workshops (QUAL DATA)


Media, engagement and influence

My research has been covered in the UK by Times Higher Education and in several outlets in Australia.  My co-author and I have published a summary of our findings in the on-line magazine The Conversation.

The University of York News page created a page on the coverage.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation ran an article and a radio feature on the topic, and there were features on MSN Network Australia and the Campus Morning Mail.

I was invited to write an article for the popular blog site Research Whisperer:

I recently published a further article in the Conversation following the publication of 'Fear and Loathing in the Academy: the role of emotion in response to an impact agenda in the UK and Australia' published in HERDA 2017.


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