Claire Donovan


Room: Gaskell Building 056
Brunel University London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 267651
Fax: +44 (0)1895 269708
Web: Personal Website

About Claire

Qualifications: DPhil, MA, Social and Political Thought (Sussex), BA (Hons) Philosophy (Soton)

Claire Donovan is a Reader in science and technology studies, and joined Brunel University in 2010. She previously held research and teaching positions at the Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University; Nuffield College, Oxford University; and The Open University. Claire has been a visiting fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge University; Wolfson College, Cambridge University; the Science, Technology and Society Program, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; the Department of Government, London School of Economics; the Science, Technology and Society Cluster, National University of Singapore; and the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. In 2003-05 Claire was an Elected Associate Member of the Sociology Group, Nuffield College, Oxford University.

Claire has long been an advocate for considering the unique qualities of the humanities, arts and social sciences within science-based evaluation systems, and in 2006 she was Chair of an Australian Government Technical Working Group on Research Impact where she championed the use of case studies and narratives alongside robust impact indicators. The work of this group influenced the design of REF2014. In 2013 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Areas of expertise

  • Assessing research impact (all fields)
  • Research evaluation and research policy
  • The governance of (social) science
  • Assessing the value of culture
  • Evaluation and metrics as technologies of governance
  • Case studies and narrative methods

Academic Blogs


Research Interests

Recent research projects

Assessing research impact

Evaluating the Returns of Research Funded by the Australian National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Project report: Claire Donovan, Teresa Jones and Stephen Hanney (2013) ‘Evaluating the Returns of Research Funded by the Australian National Breast Cancer Foundation.’ London: HERG, Brunel University, 197 pp.

Click here for the NBCF launch of the report and media coverage.

Cultural value

‘Measuring Cultural Value (Phase 2)’. Arts and Humanities Research Council/Economic and Social Research Council/Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Project report: Claire Donovan (2013) ‘A Holistic Approach to Valuing Our Culture: A Report to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’, London: DCMS, 34 pp.

Download ‘A Holistic Approach to Valuing Our Culture: A Report to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’ from the website.

Click here to read Claire’s ‘Priceless?’ project blog.

Forthcoming publications

(In press) Donovan, C., Butler, L., Butt, A., Jones, TH., and Hanney, S., Evaluation of the impact of National Breast Cancer Foundation funded research, Medical Journal of Australia.

(In press) Donovan, C. Creating #havoc: A holistic approach to valuing our culture. In: Powell, A. and Swindells, S. eds. Public engagement and impact: Articulating value in art and design. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.

(In press) Donovan, C. The impact agenda. In: Holbrook, JB and Mitcham, C. eds. Ethics, science, technology, and engineering: An international resource (second edition of the Encyclopaedia of science, technology and ethics), MacMillan USA.

Journal Papers

(2014)  Donovan, C. , Butler, L. , Butt, AJ. , Jones, TH.  and Hanney, SR. , Evaluation of the impact of National Breast Cancer Foundation-funded research, Medical Journal of Australia 200 (4)  : 214- 218 Download publication

(2013)  Donovan, C. , Beyond the 'Postmodern University', The European Legacy: toward new paradigms 18 (1)  : 24- 41 Download publication

(2012)  Jones, TH. , Donovan, C.  and Hanney, S. , Tracing the wider impacts of biomedical research: A literature search to develop a novel citation categorisation technique, Scientometrics 93 (1)  : 125- 134 Download publication

(2011)  Donovan, C. , State of the Art in Assessing Research Impact: Introduction to a special issue, Research Evaluation 3 175- 179

(2011)  Donovan, C.  and Hanney, S. , The 'Payback Framework' explained, Research Evaluation 20 (3)  : 181- 183

(2009)  Donovan, C. , Gradgrinding the social sciences: The politics of metrics of political science, Political Studies Review 7 (1)  : 73- 83 Download publication

(2008)  Donovan, C. , The Australian Research Quality Framework: A live experiment in capturing the social, economic, environmental, and cultural returns of publicly funded research, New Directions for Evaluation 2008 (118)  : 47- 60 Download publication

(2007)  Donovan, C.  and Butler, L. , Testing novel quantitative indicators of research 'quality', esteem and 'user engagement': An economics pilot study, Research Evaluation 16 (4)  : 231- 242

(2007)  Donovan, C. , The hidden perils of citation counting for Australasian political science, Australian Journal of Political Science 42 (4)  : 665- 678

(2007)  Donovan, C. , Introduction: Future pathways for science policy and research assessment: Metrics vs peer review, quality vs impact, Science and Public Policy 34 (8)  : 538- 542 Download publication

(2007)  Donovan, C. , The qualitative future of research evaluation, Science and Public Policy 34 (8)  : 585- 597

(2006)  Clay, MA. , Donovan, C. , Butler, L.  and Oldenburg, BF. , The returns from cardiovascular research: The impact of the National Heart Foundation of Australia's investment, Medical Journal of Australia 185 (4)  : 209- 212

(2006)  Donovan, C. , The chequered career of a cryptic concept, The Political Quarterly 77 (Suppl s1)  : 61- 72 Download publication

(2006)  Donovan, C.  and Larkin, P. , The problem of political science and practical politics, Politics 26 (1)  : 11- 17 Download publication

(2005)  Donovan, C. , The governance of Social Science and everyday epistemology, Public Administration 83 (3)  : 597- 615

(2005)  Donovan, C. , Hodgson, B. , Scanlon, E.  and Whitelegg, E. , Women in higher education: Issues and challenges for part-time scientists, Women's Studies International Forum 28 (2-3 SPEC. ISS.)  : 247- 258

Book Chapters

(2008)  Donovan, C. , Das zweiköpfige Lama zähmen: Die australische suche nach den besten evaluierungsmethoden für die geisteswissenschaften [Taming the Pushmi-pullyu: State of the art in evaluating humanities research quality – A view from down under]. In: Lack, E.  and Markschies, C.  eds. What the hell is quality? Qualitätsstandards in den Geisteswissenschaften [What the hell is quality? Quality standards in the humanities]. Frankfurt : Campus Verlag 74- 98

(2008)  Donovan, C. , The Australian Research Quality Framework: A live experiment in capturing the social, economic, environmental, and cultural returns of publicly funded research. In: Coryn, CLS.  and Scriven, M.  eds. Reforming the evaluation of research: New directions for evaluation. Jossey-Bass Inc Publishers -

(2007)  Donovan, C. , Consuming Social Science. In: Bevir, M.  and Trentmann, F.  eds. Governance, consumers and citizens. New York : Palgrave Macmillan -

(2006)  Donovan, C. , The chequered career of a cryptic concept. In: Dench, G.  ed. The rise and rise of meritocracy. Oxford : Wiley-Blackwell -

(2004)  Donovan, C. , Citation and content analysis. In: Halsey, AH.  ed. A history of sociology in Britain. Oxford : Oxford University Press 241- 249 Download publication

Page last updated: Wednesday 04 March 2015