Leveraging the societal impact of research


We believe that research has the responsibility to contribute to addressing and resolving complex societal challenges. As such, research should have an effect on life beyond academia: it should spark benefits to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, and society’s quality of life. This change is complex, evolves over time, and takes different paths depending on disciplines, sectors, and timelines. Benefits can be instrumental (e.g. influencing the development of a policy or practice or changing behavior), conceptual (e.g. contributing to a new awareness or understanding) and of capacity building nature (e.g. developing skills).

Why plan for impact? To unfold societal impact, the role of formal and informal relationships with diverse societal stakeholders is crucial: research itself does not create impact. Only when players outside the academic realm, such as governmental agencies, companies, or civil society organizations pick up scientific knowledge and apply it to practice, it creates value for society. Therefore, Open Innovation in Science (OIS) – involving societal actors early on, cooperating with citizens and stakeholders outside research and co-producing research – becomes an important aspect of impact. OIS practices enable the orientation of research towards true societal needs and increase the partners’ readiness to take up findings. Societal impact can in turn feed back into research activities by leading to increased funding opportunities, further research projects, and collaboration interests, or new external knowledge contributions.

Contact us for a consultation on the societal impact of your research.

How we support you

We want to facilitate and support researchers and research entities in systematically and strategically leveraging the societal impact of their research activities. Together, we develop and apply support to enable strategic impact planning and continuous impact reflection, steering, and assessment. Our focus is on supporting research groups who apply OIS practices in their research and who work openly by involving and engaging relevant stakeholders in their research.

Contact us for a consultation on the societal impact of your research.


⤓ What is Societal Research Impact? Here you find a Short Literature Review providing insight into the field.

The OIS Impact Model and Reflection Instruments help plan and assess the societal impact of specific OIS activities in a research project. The Impact and Engagement Study Template enables a narrative demonstration of how impact unfolds in a research project through different reflection questions.

Impact tools

Contact us for a consultation

Mathieu Mahve-Beydokhti, BSc MA

Senior Program Manager Impact

+43 660 216 2313