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Brussels Colloquium on Societal Impact by ECOOM VUB

donderdag, 28 november, 2019 - 09:00 to vrijdag, 29 november, 2019 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
02 629 22 42

“Investigating the societal impact of research: Past achievements and future developments”

On Thursday 28th and Friday 29th of November 2019, ECOOM-Brussels organizes a colloquium on the societal impact of scientific research at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). Gathering academics, policy makers and other stakeholders, the ECOOM-VUB colloquium on the societal impact of research addresses an increasingly topical subject in current and future developments in the role of research in society. Forwarding the views of various actors in the conceptualization, registration and evaluation of societal impact in relation to research, the colloquium aims to assess the current state of the art and contribute to upcoming evolutions.

Researchers and policymakers are invited to attend this two-day event to participate in debates on the nature and conceptualization of ‘societal impact’, discover methods to measure this impact and to explore the role of societal impact in contemporary research policy.



Day 1 Academic Programme (Thursday 28 November) @VUB Campus

Welcome Addressal Karin VANDERKERKEN (Vice-Rector, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Keynote Speech Paul BENNEWORTH (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences) On the Societal Impact of University Research

Panel 1

  • Stefan P.L. DE JONG (CWTS, University of Leiden) From output and interactions to conditions: Toward evaluating university impact strategies
  • Richard WATERMEYER (University of Bath) The impact phantom: The deleterious effects of competitive accountability on academic praxis 
  • Elwin REIMINK (COST Association) Researchers on impact: divided by discipline?

Panel 2

  • Rómulo PINHEIRO & Aleksandar AVRAMOVIC (University of Agder) Universities’ societal impact: Perspectives on responsibility agendas from the Nordics
  • Bram PYNOO, Jo TONDEUR, Julie BERTONNE, Linde MORIAU, Martina TEMMERMAN & Pieter MEURS (VUB) Designing high impact Community Engaged Research and Learning strategies – a working paper.
  • Mari Jose ARANGUREN, Patricia CANTO-FARACHALA & James R. WILSON (Orkestra, Deusto Business School) Transformative academic institutions: A model for understanding and measuring their regional impacts

Panel 3

  • Massimo FLORIO (University of Milan) & Francesco GIFFONI (CSIL) The willingness-to-pay (WTP) for fundamental science as a ‘public good’: A survey to Swiss citizens
  • Max KEMMAN, Nick JELICIC, Wazir SAHEBALI & Robbin TE VELDE (Dialogic) Societal immunity: A history of scientific impact on public discussions
  • Alexis DEWAELE, Stefan MEYSMAN, Julie CARLIER & Kristof VANDAEL (Ghent University) Generating SSH research impact through co-creation: from theory to practice

Panel 4

  • Trust SAIDI & Magnus GULBRANDSEN (University of Oslo) Health research for the benefit of society: An assessment of the tension between scientific and societal impacts in Norway.
  • Wendy REIJMERINK (ZONMW) Health research funding for impact
  • Esther DE SMET & Noel KLIMA (Ghent University) Finding the best support structure for societal impact: the case of the Ghent University Interdisciplinary Research Consortia for Societal Impact (IDCs)

Closing remarks Walter YSEBAERT & Nicola Francesco DOTTI (ECOOM-VUB)

Day 2 Policy Programme (Friday 29 November) @Committee of the Regions

Welcome adressal Walter YSEBAERT (ECOOM-VUB) 

Keynote Speech Luc SOETE (University of Maastricht)

Case studies 

  • Joost VAESEN (Brussels Studies Institute/Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Knowledge Serving the City? The case of the Brussels Studies Institute
  • Samuel COLE (Warwick University) The case of the British REF
  • Koen DE KOSTER (VLIRUOS) In search of the golden fleece: Navigating towards societal impact in university cooperation for development
  • Linsy RAAFFELS and Heidi DENEWETH (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Case-study approach of the challenges of societal valorisation within academic research

Expert Contributions 

  • Massimo FLORIO (University of Milan) Investing in Science: Social cost-benefit analysis of research infrastructures
  • Frank ZWETSLOOT (Science Works) Measuring societal impact within individual disciplines

Policy Roundtable 

  • Lidia BORRELL-DAMIAN (Secretary General of Science Europe)
  • Sabine BORREY (Senior Researcher at the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government, EWI)
  • Vinciane GAILLARD (Deputy Director for Research and Innovation for the European University Association, EUA)
  • Véronique HALLOIN (General Secretary of the Fund for Scientific Research, FRS-FNRS)
  • Jérémy LEVIN (Innoviris)
  • Alasdair REID (Director of EFIS)
  • Paul SCHREURS (Advisor of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, VLAIO)
  • Reinhilde VEUGELERS (Council Member of the Flemish Advisory Council for Innovation & Enterprise, VARIO)
  • Hans WILLEMS (General Secretary Research Foundation – Flanders, FWO)

Speakers from previous sessions are invited to participate in the roundtable

Closing remarks Walter YSEBAERT & Nicola Francesco DOTTI (ECOOM-VUB)


  • Organization: ECOOM-VUB
  • When & where:
    Thursday November 28th (Scientific program): 
    Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
    Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene
    Auditorium D “Promotiezaal”

    Friday November 29th (Policy program)
    Committee of the Regions (CoR)
    Belliardstraat 99/101, 1040 Brussels
    JDE51 (5th Floor)