Understanding Societal Impact in Research and Technology Organisations using Productive Interactions

Aad van Dorp, Sandor Löwik , Petra de Weerd-Nederhof

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Research organisations receiving at least partly public funding are increasingly required to show their societal impact. Assessing societal impact is a complex task, because it involves very different aspects, is prone to bias from the assessor and even may be contradictory. Using the process and network oriented method of productive interactions, an explorative case study was performed on three contract research cases from NLR Netherlands Aerospace Centre with the goal to extend current understanding of societal impact creation in a high technology readiness context using actor salience as a characteristic. Data from 15 interviews with research leaders and main actors was used to develop actor network diagrams and corresponding actor characterisations for each project. From the case contexts, a generic model for development of technology areas was established, showing six different relevant types of research activities. It is observed that productive interactions in contract research tend to be mainly of indirect nature. Furthermore, less salient actors appear to also create secondary impact types, additional to the main impact intention of the contract. Based on the observations and the generic model, a proposition is conveyed for actor parameters in different types of research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
    EventR&D Management Conference 2017: Science, Markets & Society: Crossing boudaries, creating momentum - Leuven, Belgium
    Duration: 1 Jul 20175 Jul 2017


    ConferenceR&D Management Conference 2017
    Internet address

    Cite this