Policy framework for societal value creation of research

An important part of the research policy at Ghent university is to stimulate and reward societal value creation of research. In order to meet this objective, a specific strategy is being rolled out since 2015.

Creating an impact literate research community

Value creation (in Dutch ‘valorisatie’) of research is the process that can lead to impact and can be interwoven throughout the life cycle of research (ranging from which and how the research is conducted to the dissemination or commercialisation of the results). Impact is the effect that research has in society. It is the changes we can see (demonstrate, measure, record) in our sphere of life (society, economy, environment) that result from (caused by, contributed to, attributable to) research and scientific knowledge. 

In its mission to stimulate and incentivise the contributions of Ghent University’s research community to society, the university has been expanding on its strategy for impact since the introduction of the policy framework for societal value creation in 2015. 

The policy framework introduced an approach:

  • which goes beyond economic value creation
  • which is relevant to all fields of science and respects basic fundamental research
  • which takes into account the individuality and creative talent of researchers
  • which recognises societal value creation as an iterative process whereby stakeholder engagement and research communication are key

The policy framework wants to create an academic environment within Ghent University

  • which is impact literate
  • which values and rewards socio-economic value creation as an integral part of research
  • which fits within the commitment to responsible research assessment

Some specific actions

  • Dedicated web section for researchers in order to foster impact literacy (with information on types of societal value creation activities, funding opportunities, special initiatives and institutional platforms supporting impact, training...)
  • Impact as a dimension in the research portfolio
  • Changes in proposal requirements and assessment guidelines of Special Research Fund
  • Introduction of a fund for societal value creation
  • Creation of Interdisciplinary Research Consortia aimed at societal impact with dedicated knowledge and impact brokers
  • Introduction of additional liaison officer SSH for Industrial Research Fund 
  • Allowing the registration of expertise and value creation activities via the research information system GISMO
  • Expansion of publication types in the Academic Bibliography
  • Institutional access to Altmetric
  • Collection and dissemination of impact success stories
  • Creation and promotion of platforms supporting societal impact, e.g. University Museum, de Krook, ...
  • Expansion of training offer for researchers and train-the-trainer approach through the IDC co-ordinators
  • Participation in international projects and networks aimed at knowledge sharing and building expertise on impact (eg. ACCOMPLISSH, ENRESSH, ENLIGHT-Rise, EARMA, INORMS, ...)
  • ...


Esther De Smet (Research Department)