Societal impact of academic research in the knowledge society

Friday 23 June 2017

In March 2017 the League of European Research Universities (LERU) released a position paper called:  ‘Productive interactions: societal impact of academic research in the knowledge society’. In this paper LERU “reflects on the consequences of societal developments on research and research impact, it analyses the current context in which societal impact is discussed at LERU universities, and it describes how the current understanding of impact and its explicit recognition inside and outside of the university has significant consequences for the entire research ecosystem.”  LERU releases its paper as a reaction to Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, stating that “research impact should be one of three core values for Europe’s research funding programmes next to excellence and openness,” and that his hope was “to develop a more sophisticated approach to impact.”

In order to achieve this goal, LERU recommends universities to fully embrace the societal impact agenda, to continuously seek to support and promote societal impact as a dynamic, open and networked process in a culture of sustained engagement and co-production of knowledge. “As a consequence, universities should develop open, explicit and transparent reward systems that include the value of all kinds of impact, reward it and take it into account for individual promotion. They should avoid (inadvertently) creating or following perverse incentive systems.”

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