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Futures literacy for research impact in universities

University-based research is an inherently future-oriented activity and plays a unique role in shaping futures in diverse domains. Despite the push for academic research to demonstrate ‘societal impact’, there is surprisingly little thought to the need for, or development of, futures literacy as a core capability within research impact in higher education. Futures literacy – notably the ability to imagine and prepare for changes that may occur – has the potential to transform current trajectories in academic research impact. In this paper we argue that futures literacy has been neglected in the research impact agenda in universities and call for more action-learning and training on it using Futures Literacy Laboratories for Research Impact (FLL-RI). Drawing on exploratory research, we sketch five key principles which together highlight the need to re-orient research impact as an anticipatory agenda for futures literacy praxis in higher education.

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