Topic 2: Delineating the field of SSH impact: lessons from an expert survey (WG2)

By 3 April 2018
Researcher`s institution:
Host institution: CHEPS located at the University of Twente (the Netherlands)
Period of stsm:
Funds approved:

Description of the topic:

Identifying the societal impact of public funded research has become a hot topic that is receiving more attention in both the academic and policy arena. However, to initiate a well-directed debate/discussion on the societal impact of research, a pre-condition is to establish a common vocabulary and understanding of what constitutes research societal impact and what does not. This STSM focuses specifically on deliminating the boundaries of SSH as disciplinary fields and their orientations towards societal impact, asking whether research impact can be provided by the SSH field itself or in combination with other science fields. The STSM will conduct an exploratory analysis of researchers’ reply to a questionnaire in order to identify the myths surrounding what constitutes research societal impact in SSH, to develop a common terminology and understanding for addressing this issue.


Objectives: This STSM aims to advance the understanding of the contextual conditions of SSH societal impact creation (Task 1 of WG2). In particular, the STSM seeks to develop a common language and vocabulary for talking about what matters to SSH impact generation in ways that are relevant to the field and not drawn from other fields. This analysis will complement the work already taken of specific examples of impact creation (STSM 1_1, 2_1) and also provide empirical material to support the theoretical framework developed setting out the problems of complementarity vs contradictions (STSM 2_2). The final output will be an analysis of the most common definitions of various key concepts within SSH valorisation.

Special criteria for this STSM: the applicant has knowledge of the theories, practices and policies for the stimulation of societal impact from SSH research activities. The applicant must also have knowledge of qualitative analysis (ideally narrative analysis or be willing to learn that skill.


Results: The proposed STSM will supplement the existing empirical work undertaken in STSMs 1_1, 2_1 and 2_3, and help to complement the theoretical work undertaken in STSM 2_2. This will result in co-authored publications.


Practical details:

Working group: WG2 (Societal Impact of SSH Research);

Duration and timing: between 2 weeks and 1 month;

Location: CHEPS, University of Twente, the Netherlands;

Contact: Paul Benneworth (