Austrian Presidency of the EU Council Conference on

Impact of Social Sciences and Humanities for a European Research Agenda – Valuation of SSH in mission-oriented research

28-29 November 2018


This Austrian EU Council Presidency conference will engage around 350 participants from all over Europe and international partner countries. It will gather RTI policy makers, RTI councils, public and philanthropic funding agencies, research managers, academics, and evaluators to debate and forward valuation and impact generation of SSH in disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research settings for the benefit of socially more robust RTI policies, RTI processes and RTI solutions to better address European challenges and missions.

The conference responds to several strategic developments, which are shaping European policy discussions, such as

  • arguments of the Lamy-Report including the one that SSH can act as driver for some missions of the next Framework Programme for R&I (and as contributor to others) and the need to develop adequate impact oriented RTI policy designs,
  • recommendations drawn up in the Mazzucato-Report to maximise the impact of the future EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation through mission-oriented policy,
  • the Issue Paper prepared by the European Commission services for the ‘High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU research and innovation programmes’ which highlights the high policy relevance of SSH research, the very different level of integration of certain SSH disciplines and topics in other societal challenges and the uneven geographical participation,
  • the claim of the European Parliament towards a broader and clear definition of impact by raising awareness on societal, cultural and long-term impacts,
  • the argument of the Estonian EU Council Presidency to develop a more sophisticated and dynamic approach to impact assessment,
  • and Competitiveness Council conclusions to implement a mission-oriented and impact-focused approach in FP9, to maximise the impact of results to offer advanced solutions to the challenges that our society is facing and to and make research and innovation more inclusive of relevant players and citizens

The table below shows the most central conference themes according to the three main conference pillars.

Pillar Theme
Valuation Pathways
  • Valuation narratives, theories of change and impact generation within genuine SSH research
  • Added value creation by involving SSH in inter-disciplinary projects driven primarily by other disciplines
  • Impact generating processes and methods in SSH research
  • Reflecting different judgments on the value-for-society of SSH and arts-based research
Structures & Policies
  • Support structures, policy-delivery formats and policies which support the valuation, outcome and impact generation of SSH research
  • Re-design of existing support structures and policies
  • Integration of SSH research the forthcoming European Framework Programme
  • Taking-up and scaling-up SSH pathways and impact dimensions in research programmes, calls for proposals and projects
Assessing Impact
  • Tracing, assessing and measuring the use and impact of SSH research activities and results
  • Intended and non-intended societal impacts, structuring impacts on policy-making and policies

Key questions addressed by the conference are:

  • Which valuation narratives and theories of change are taken-up and forwarded by SSH and arts-based research?
  • What processes and methods are employed by SSH in the phases of knowledge production, knowledge dissemination and knowledge usage to increase relevance, outcome and impact?
  • How can SSH contribute to value creation in inter-disciplinary processes projects driven primarily by other disciplines (and vice-versa)? How are these contributions perceived and which obstacles have to be removed?
  • How can outcomes and impacts be facilitated by integrating SSH in mission-oriented transformative research? How can SSH contribute to the new missions proposed by the European Commission for FP9?
  • What policies and support structures are in place or need to be improved or developed to support the valuation, outcome and impact generation of SSH research in transformative, mission-oriented research and innovation agendas?
  • How can ‘value for society’ be better tackled, traced, created, captured and exploited by transformative SSH approaches? Which support structures and mechanisms are needed for this?
  • How can SSH pathways and impact dimensions of SSH and arts-based research be better taken-up in research programmes, research call for proposals and projects?
  • How do new and experimental policy formats and support structures create opportunities for participation and public engagement?
  • How can the use and impact of SSH and arts-based research to the benefit of a transformative and mission-oriented European research and innovation agenda be better traced, assessed and measured?
  • Which assessment and measurement methodologies can be used to measure the impact of SSH research contributions at different levels (e.g. scientific impact; policy and structural impact; societal impact)?

To enable vivid, efficient and effective exchange and learning, the conference programme will consist of panel sessions, key notes speeches, paper sessions, mission sessions and a poster session. The parallel paper sessions will allow for presentation of a maximum of three to four papers in each session. Presentations will be a maximum of 20 minutes, leaving enough time within each session for discussion. A dedicated poster presentation session will take place during the conference.

More detailed information about the exact conference programme can be found here.


Centre for Social Innovation – Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (ZSI)

Mrs. Berenike Ecker (; 0043-1-4950442-38)

Mr. Klaus Schuch (

The conference is organised by ZSI, the Centre for Social Innovation, on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (representing the Austrian EU Council Presidency in the field of RTI) and the European Commission.