COST Connect: The relevance of impact in R&I Policy - What role for networks?


Impact measurement plays a crucial role in the discussions on the Next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9). Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation stated, “Impact should be a key value in FP9” next to the principles of excellence and openness.

To be in the forefront of these discussions, COST held an event on the 24th November in Brussels entitled, COST Connect: The relevance of impact in R&I Policy – What role for networks? COST Connect brought R&I stakeholders such as the European Commission, European Parliament and different funding agencies together with members from several COST Actions. One of the aims of the event was to elaborate upon the question of; ‘what the role and definition of impact is within Research and Innovation Policies,’ thus contributing to a more diverse and inclusive interpretation of impact.

Attendees of COST Connect: The relevance of impact in R&I policy – What role for networks?

A number of presentations were made during the morning including from Kadri Sirg from the Estonian Council Presidency, Koen Jonkers from the Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) and Nelly Bruno from the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD).

Jack Spaapen, Vice Chair of COST Action, The European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities voiced his opinion that “We should measure societal innovation instead of impact.”

Luciana Löberg from the Graphene Flagship stated “It is very important to have the correct target audience.” Before asking “How do we engage people to participate and innovate so they create impact?”

Julian Bauer from the European University Association noted “There is a need for stronger alignment of education, research and innovation.”

Ideas generated by participants through a series of workshops held during the COST Connect event will be used to feed into the discussion on FP9. This will be made possible through follow-up activities with stakeholders in Brussels as well as with the future EU Council Presidencies.

COST Director, Ronald de Bruinsummarised, “Impact is the art of managing expectations, reality and perceptions through dialogue”