EARMA Conference Oslo


Connecting research support structures to stimulate an impact culture among researchers


EARMA Conference Oslo

Format: Oral 30 Minutes

Topic: Impact


In many universities the turn to recognizing and rewarding impact beyond the academic realm has been taken. At Ghent University such desire to recognize and appreciate other forms of impact has been formalized into policies and support structures at the central and faculty level. However, challenges remain on how to implement and operationalize those policies. What kind of support (structure) do our researchers need? What initiatives lead to a conducive or stimulating environment or culture to focus on societal and economic impact of one’s research?

Taking the example of the Ghent University’s Faculty of Law and Criminology we explain in this presentation concretely how the structures and support that has been put in place seek to activate researchers. We focus in particular on the interplay between support at, on the one hand, the central university level and, at the other hand, the faculty level at Ghent University. At the central level, ten transversal interdisciplinary consortia with focus on societal impact (IDC) have been installed for different thematic areas. The consortia foster knowledge transfer and exchange, strengthen societal value creation leading to societal impact and stimulate synergies and cooperation with external academic, policy and practice partners from different disciplines. A central support structure for those researchers aiming at achieving economic impact has been installed as well at the Technology Transfer Office level through a dedicated liaison officer and an SSH-led business development center. Additionally, at the faculty level research support strives to provide content-specific and tailor-made support in activating researchers. The challenge we address is threefold (1) how to create synergies between central and faculty level on these matters and (2) to what extent should or can researchers be supported and (3) how to recognize and measure the efforts our researchers undertake to create impact.

The presentation is meant to start a discussion between RMAs that are dealing with supporting researchers in achieving societal and/or economic impact.