Interdisciplinary research consortia aimed at realising societal impact

We are currently rolling out 6 new IDC consortia! Check out this extensive news item.

Increasing interdisciplinarity and real world impact

In 2018 Ghent University reinforced its wish for sustainable investment in interdisciplinary collaboration and societal impact of research by introducing specific research consortia (IDC) as a sequel to a previous initiative called the SSH Consortia.

Stage one of this strategy has led to four of these IDC in the research disciplines of social sciences and humanities (SSH). Stage two has been rolled out in 2019 allowing university-wide applications for a remainder of 6 new IDC, bringing the total to 10.

  • The IDC are funded through the university's own Special Research Fund. With their focus on societal impact they form an interesting counterpart to the Business Development Centres (funded by the Industrial Research Fund).
  • All IDC are led by a promotor/spokesperson and a dedicated research co-ordinator, who acts as a knowledge broker and who works in close collaboration with the central Research Department (esp. on impact policy and European public affairs). A specific career model has been developed for these IDC co-ordinators.

Stage One: 4 IDC in continuation of SSH consortia


Henri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies (HPIMS)

Henri Pirenne Institute (2018)HPIMS is a cross-disciplinary research & impact consortium that brings together all medievalists at Ghent University. It draws its 100+ members from 4 faculties and 10 departments. The Institute facilitates cross-disciplinary research into the medieval period and advances knowledge exchange both between the different fields of study. Research on original medieval heritage (texts, images, maps, artefacts and sites) is the core business, including the development and integration of Digital Humanities methods. However, HPIMS also houses expertise in collaboration with archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions, as well as with several societal sectors such as education, policy and tourism.

Research co-ordinator: Dr Stefan Meysman

Twitter: @MedievalUGent

Ghent Centre for Global Studies

Logo Global StudiesThis interdisciplinary research platform unites scholars from Social and Economic Geography; International, EU and Conflict & Development Studies; Economics, Sociology, Global History and Ethics; Human Rights Law and Intercultural Pedagogy – a total of 11 research groups from 6 different faculties – around the critical study of globalisation, with special attention to the interaction of global and local processes. With its interdisciplinary research (on inter alia urbanization, rural transformations, economic governance and migration) and education, the Centre wishes to contribute to the societal debate on, and evidence-based policy-making and development cooperation for, sustainable development.

Research co-ordinator: Dr Julie Carlier

Crime, Criminology and Criminal Policy (CCCP)

Logo CCCPThe IDC ‘Crime, Criminology & Criminal Policy’ brings together 16 scholars from different disciplines in six departments working inter-disciplinary on security, crime and deviance related topics in local, national, European and international contexts. Research topics cover among others complex cross-border crimes such as cybercrime, terrorism and organized crime but also privacy, information exchange, big data, law enforcement responses, policies and laws. The consortium fosters knowledge translation and exchange, strengthening societal value creation leading to societal impact and stimulates synergies and cooperation with external academic, policy and practice partners from different SSH and STEMM disciplines.

Research co-ordinator: Dr Noel Klima

Twitter: @CCCP_UGent

PSYNC: working together for mental health

Logo PSYNCPSYNC is a consortium dedicated to improving the mental health of all citizens, running research projects in close collaboration with diverse stakeholder groups, with a clear focus on generating real world impact and providing societal innovation. PSYNC’s main goals are reaching vulnerable groups, stressing the importance of lifecycle perspective on mental health, increasing mental health literacy and health promotion, safeguarding ethical perspectives, and developing innovations in the treatment of mental health disorders.

Research co-ordinator: Dr Alexis Dewaele

Twitter: @alexisdewaele

Stage Two: 6 additional IDC

In its meeting of 17 December 2019 the Research Council of Ghent University has established 6 additional IDC. These IDC will now be taking steps to recruit a dedicated research co-ordinator.

Human Rights Research Network

The consortium brings together Ghent University researchers working on human rights. It furthers interdisciplinary collaboration in human rights research (goal 1). In this manner it aims to increase excellent human rights research at Ghent University (goal 2), and to advance the societal impact of this research (goal 3), in close collaboration with societal stakeholders.

  • Promotor/spokesperson: prof. Eva Brems
GRAY - Ghent University Research for Aging Young

GRAY is an impact-focused interdisciplinary consortium aimed at boosting healthy aging by excellent translational research, societal outreach and valorization of novel solutions, interventions, products and services. GRAY brings together expertise in health promotion, environment and urbanism, adaptive technology, valorization and fundamental research in the scope of aging and closes the gap between science and society.

  • Promotor/spokesperson: prof. Greet Cardon

UGent @ Work wants to (i) make the UGent research on work and the labour market more accessible and communicate it better, (ii) get more structured input from society, (iii) achieve more social impact with it and make better use of the opportunities for inter-disciplinary (iv) research cooperation and (v) research funding. This should result in more and better interdis-ciplinary research and evidence-based policy on topics such as burnout, labour market discrimination and work and digitisation.

  • Promotor/spokesperson: prof. Stijn Baert
Urban Academy: a collaboratorium for sustainability issues in Ghent

The Urban Academy focuses on socio-ecological problems in the city of Ghent and at Ghent University. Academic staff, students, policy makers, civil society actors, etc. work in inter- and transdisciplinary research processes on problem definitions and possible solutions, (living lab) experiments and upscaling initiatives, (policy) reports and scientific articles. Our theoretical and analytical framework integrates socio-spatial, political-governance, socio-technical and economic perspectives. 

  • Promotor/spokesperson: prof. Thomas Block
Digital innovation for man and society

Ghent University researchers collaborate interdisciplinary with stakeholders to: (A) explore the opportunities and challenges of new digital technologies, and guide desirable innovation trajectories to support man and society, and (B) raise awareness among young people in society of the importance of sustainable digital innovation, and prepare them through education for digital leadership.

  • Promotor/spokesperson: prof. Piet Demeester
Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR): Migration and Social Mobility: Creating Impact through Participation

The interdisciplinary Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR) puts Ghent University on the map as ‘Centre of Excellence’ on the social dimensions of migration and fleeing. Through an increasing focus on participation in its diverse dimensions, this excellence will be further strengthened and the entire university community will be supported in the effective realization of impact on society from research.

  • Promotor/spokesperson: prof. Ilse Derluyn

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