Impact & Outreach

The Henri Pirenne Institute is deeply committed towards optimizing the societal uptake of the results of its research projects and members' expertise.


  • We proactively engage with society via lectures, workshops, science events, online tools, and (social) media, but we also encourage anyone to take the initiative and get in touch with us.
  • We think it is important that our commitment towards society goes beyond merely impacting it through the dissemination of knowledge or through engagement in opinioning or providing input for societal stakeholders.
  • When possible, we actively try to involve the public and societal partners in our research itself. We do this by setting up citizen-science-like initiatives and user-input tools in order to quickly gather research data, have continuous external quality assessment and receive feedback. As an additional bonus, this way of working bypasses the funding limits of projects, which is important since we consider our data and deliverables as valuable and our relationship with society as a structural one.

Communication: Medieval / Modern

On Science Day 2O20 we launched our very own platform for public science communication: Medieval / Modern. M/M offers a freely accessible, exciting mix of brand new content of our own production as well as partner content and press. M/M features all disciplines and you can find a variety of content types: podcasts, opinion pieces, blogs, press, digi expo's and video's. We currently focus on content in Dutch although we do offer communication in French, German and English as well.

Co-Creation: Accomplissh


Our dedication towards society is reflected in our involvement in the European Horizon2020 project ACCOMPLISSH. This project aims at accelerating the co-creation between academics and societal stakeholders by setting up a platform for impact for the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). Charting co-creational processes and creating an innovative value-creation concept will enable SSH research and contribute to innovation for a variety of users.

What is Co-creation?

Co-creation is a type of collaboration between various stakeholders (from in- and outside academia) who have a purpose, namely grouping expertise to tackle big challenge(s). This form of collaboration has structure but is built on principles of nonhierarchical openness and trust. Especially in SSH domains, it follows a non-linear process of working together. The aim is always to join forces and generate new or better knowledge, ideas and solutions.

Training: expertise in impact from the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

Drawing from the ACCOMPLISSH project and experiences as a Ghent University Research Impact Consortium (IDC), the Henri Pirenne Institute, together with another IDC, presented at the opening conference on 'SSH Impact and the European Research Agenda' of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Vienna (28-29 November 2018).

We spoke on the principles and practices of co-creation with societal partners for research and valuation. A vimeo video of the conference is available:

SSH Impact Conference Video from ZSI on Vimeo.

Lobbying: initiatives with the Research Department (DOZA) of Ghent University

Through its coordinator, the consortium is connected to the EU Office of the central Research Department at Ghent University. We are a member of the EU Working Group that monitors European funding opportunities, especially in the EU framework programmes (H2020 and Horizon Europe), and deploys activities towards EU research and innovation policy makers.

  • Find the influential position paper 'The SSH Embedding Challenge', drafted by the Working Group on the occasion of the interim evaluation of Horizon2020 and a visit of Members of European Parliament at Ghent University.
  • Find the position paper 'SSH Research Opportunities in FP9' . This joint paper was published on the occasion of the consultation prior to the development of Framework Programme 9 (now Horizon Europe). It was written together with 9 other European universities at the initiative of our working group, and it was co-signed by over 50 research institutions and more than 700 individual researchers.
Please note that many of our efforts concerning impact and outreach are highlighted in the 'News' and 'Focus' sections on our homepage.