I have discussed the bad effect of the government’s concentration on “impact” of research before; in fact I do keep coming back to it, and you are probably bored, so I won’t rehearse the arguments again.
But this is important. A petition last year, asking for the government to re-think the use of “impact” in the REF, got tens of thousands of signatures; the only effect was that they reduced the proportion of the assessment for impact from 25% to 20%.
Now Philip Moriarty and Don Braben propose a modest revolt. When reviewing research council submissions, answer the question about impact with “I am not competent to assess the future potential socio-economic impact of this proposal”. Of course they can find stooges who claim to be able to assess it, but they will be put to extra trouble, and might actually be made to realise that we do feel strongly about this. Indeed, I do not believe that there is anyone who is competent to assess it.
A letter about this will appear in the Times Higher Education, hopefully next week. In the meantime, you might be interested in the website Campaign for the Public University.