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Evaluating societal relevance of research

Honours College Masterwork for the Science Shops

Scientific research is performed to elucidate how the world around us is functioning. One dimension of the acquired knowledge is that it can be used to develop various sectors of society such as industry, education, governmental practices, the health system or social cohesion. A main characteristic of the so-called societal relevance of research is therefore the quest towards answering questions that society asks or to solve problems it faces. Even though modern societies highly depend on scientific research it is highly disputable how the societal relevance of academic research can (A) be measured and (B) improved. This subject is of great interest to universities and funds nowadays. Of course, Science Shops consider it to be in their line of work to bring together as much knowledge there is on this subject, because we like to stimulate and facilitate research with societal relevance.

Johannes Wilbertz, a masterstudent in biology and an Honours College student wrote a review on the subject. In this review the two aspects, measuring and improving societal relevance are discussed by means of existing literature. In addition and in order to further highlight recent developments new research is done. The main questions are: How have different universities adapted to an increasing “relevance demand”? And how could communication via social media become a practical means of science communication? This work therefore intends to be an overview about recent developments and how societal relevance could be formulated in a more robust way in the future by academic institutions.

download the report

The report (in English) is downloadable for free through our digital archives: Evaluating societal relevance of research. If you would like a printed copy, please contact the Science Shop (not free of charge).

Last modified:02 October 2015 10.45 p.m.