Interdisciplinary research consortia aimed at realising societal impact

Increasing interdisciplinarity, career possibilities for researchers, and real world impact

Ghent University attaches great importance to interdisciplinary collaboration and societal impact of research and therefore introduced ten research consortia or IDC.

Some characteristics

  • 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 and focused on economic impact).
  • Interdisciplinarity is at the core of the IDC initiative, fostering cross-faculty collaboration both within and between SSH and STEMM. Also transdisciplinarity and co-creation with non-academic stakeholders are key.
  • All IDC are managed by a promotor-spokesperson and a dedicated research co-ordinator.
  • The IDC co-ordinator acts as a knowledge broker and works in close collaboration with the central Research Department, especially on societal impact policy and European Public Affairs.
  • A specific career model has been developed for these IDC co-ordinators, following the principles of Ghent University's vision on research assessment.

The IDC initiative has been published as best practice on the EU Knowledge Valorisation Platform.

Discover the ten IDC!

View on Ghent by Pieter de Keysere in 1524 version Museum RotterdamHenri Pirenne Institute for Medieval Studies (HPIMS)

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.

IDC co-ordinator: Stefan Meysman
Promotor-spokesperson: Jeroen Deploige

Twitter: @MedievalUGent

WereldkaartGhent Centre for Global Studies

This 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.

IDC co-ordinator: N.N.
Promotor-spokesperson: Koen Vlassenroot

Criminologie (Photo by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash)Crime, Criminology and Criminal Policy

The 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.

IDC co-ordinator: Noel Klima
Promotor-spokesperson: Tom Vander Beken

Twitter: @Crime_UGent

Brein met handPSYNC: working together for mental health

PSYNC 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.

IDC co-ordinator: Alexis Dewaele
Promotor-spokesperson: Ann Buysse

Twitter: @alexisdewaele

Prikkeldraad, gevangenis, mensenrechtenHuman 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.

IDC co-ordinator: Giselle Corradi
Promotors-spokesperson:  Ellen Desmet and Tine Destrooper

Beeld IDC GrayGRAY - 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.

IDC co-ordinator: Sanne Stegen
Promotor-spokesperson: Greet Cardon

Twitter: @GrayUGent

Beeld IDC UGent @ WorkUGent@Work

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.

IDC co-ordinator: Brecht Neyt
Promotor-spokesperson: Stijn Baert

Twitter: @UGentAtWork

Beeld IDC StadsacademieUrban Academy: a collaboratorium for sustainability issues in Ghent

The Urban Academy focuses on the socio-ecological problems of the City of Ghent. Although many urban and academic actors are already committed to the theme of sustainability, with De Stadsacademie we want to put complex, urgent themes on the map by means of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary educational and research projects in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable cities. Academics, students, teachers, policy makers, civil society organizations, etc. work together on problem definitions and possible solutions, (living lab) experiments and upscaling initiatives, (policy) reports and scientific articles. We strive for maximum social valorization of the acquired insights and results. 

IDC co-ordinator: Charlotte Prové
Promotor-spokesperson: Thomas Block

Beeld IDC DELTADELTA - Digital innovation for man and society

Delta wants to put digital innovation back at the service of people and society. After all, although technology can make people's lives healthier, safer, more prosperous and happier, we have to watch out for undesirable effects. That is why Delta is bringing researchers together with policymakers, entrepreneurs and civil society organisations. Delta explores the possibilities of the very latest technologies and steers digital innovation in the desired direction.

IDC co-ordinator: Jeroen Bourgonjon
Promotor-spokesperson: Piet Demeester

Twitter: @DeltaUgent

Meisje in berglandschapCentre 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.

IDC co-ordinator: Floor Verhaeghe
Promotor-spokesperson: Ilse Derluyn

Twitter: @CESSMIR

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