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Aurora Working group on Societal Impact & Relevance of Research

What happened in Amsterdam…

At the Reykjavik meeting of the SIRR group, it was clear that further SIRR work would need to concentrate on two important topics:

  • Assessment mechanisms and practices for societal impact and relevance of research, and
  • Open Access & Fair Data, or – more broadly – Open Science.

A follow up meeting in Amsterdam (September 20, 2017) was held to keep the momentum.

Assessment mechanisms for SIRR

Applying “backward design” principles to this topic means to imagine what improvements in SIRR assessment we want to achieve, and from there think what a project producing these improvements should look like in terms of results, activities and required resources.

If we want the Norwich SIRR meeting to produce an adequate  project proposal, this requires some solid discussions and planning. To this end, SIRR representatives from the University of Gothenburg, the University of Antwerp and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam met on September 20 at VU to prepare for a constructive and productive SIRR project planning session in November.

The ‘pencil sketch’ of an Aurora Research Benchmarking Initiative served the group well. The result of the September 20 meeting in Amsterdam was a solid engagement to further develop the ‘pencil sketch’ into a robust project plan with the three universities present committed to be project partners – with an open invitation to the other Aurora members to join.

‘Open science’ will be an important element in the Aurora Research Benchmarking Initiative. The experts of the Aurora Bibliometrics group will be asked for their support in analysing the high quality research output at Aurora universities for both their relevance – to e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals and the Grand Societal Challenges – and their actual impact in society.

… and how we will take it further

At the Norwich Aurora Biannual, the Aurora Research Benchmarking Initiative will have to reach maturity and turn from a ‘planned’ project into a ‘project in implementation’. Meanwhile, the University of Bergen also indicated it will participate.

Already on October 17, an Aurora delegation led by VU and Aurora  president Jaap Winter and SIRR coordinator Staffan Edén (vice rector research at the University of Gothenburg) will visit the EC’s dpt Director General Research & Innovation to discuss how Aurora can contribute to the shared policy goals of societal impact and relevance of research.

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