In their assessments, the CoEs stated that a significant impact objective was to be able to present their scientific reports and recommendations to decision-makers. In this context, impact was defined as research-based counsel on societal decision-making. One way this could happen was to impact the drafting of legislation and central government strategies by interacting with other actors in society.
Channels of impact included writing reports and publications, researchers’ membership in various working groups and representative bodies, and expert hearings and meetings. In addition to the national level, the impact stories emphasised the importance of the EU. For the EU, the CoEs defined target groups of impact to be Members of the European Parliament and officials of the Commission and Parliament.
“At best, impact leads to a dialogue with key ministers and important civil servants in terms of the issues under research. People have found that decision-making does not utilise scientific knowledge to a sufficient extent.”
In connection with impact, the CoEs also highlighted joint projects on research issues between public sector organisations, business life, civil society and the organisational sector: “One of our essential impact objectives is to make our research topic better understood among different societal stakeholders.”
As a more general objective of societal impact, the CoEs mentioned the promotion of well-being, balance, safety and security as well as preparedness for major upcoming changes, such as combating climate change:
“We need more research to solve societal problems, to bring clarity to the key uncertainties of our future. Decision-makers need better tools for assessing the big picture.”