Customising bridges between knowledge and society

By Daily van Dijk, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

For years, valorising research results from social sciences and humanities seemed difficult to achieve. Society does not consist of tangible elements or matter, but of people. Diverse issues require customised solutions developed by researchers who understand the many facets and layers of societies. REVALORISE+ sees value in a diversity of scientific knowledge being valorised into social impact. 

Ingrid Wakkee
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Wakkee

It is not easy for researchers to build a translatable bridge between their research results and apply them in society without having the essential skills and tools. Valorising a research result from social sciences and humanities requires a different approach than is traditionally used for STEM sciences. You simply cannot apply for a patent after confirming a key element after zooming in on a specific social angle. When issues involve human work, it is necessary to apply customisation so that a researcher can build a solid and tailored bridge, so that it is understandable and applicable to the target group. This way, knowledge becomes a circular part of society instead of exclusively used in academia. “In line with the law on Higher Education, researchers have the obligation to, in addition to teaching and research, ensure that knowledge at some point finds its way into society. It would be strange to say that it is less important than in other sciences. It is well worth the effort because society can do something with it, we are supposed to do this,” explains Prof. Dr. Ingrid Wakkee (Project partner, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences).

Entrepreneurial toolkit  
REVALORISE+ teaches scientific researchers which entrepreneurial skills and tools they can use to valorise research results from a good idea to an effective product in society. All of it starts by learning how to merge your mindset as a researcher with that of an entrepreneur. Dominika Borowiec, sociologist and researcher, who participates in the ‘Awareness Pathway’ training programme wants to develop this mindset. “I learned to look at research from a different perceptive. That knowledge is not just for knowledge’s sake. It’s also a product you can use. Entrepreneurship is the way you do it. Not everyone can sell it and create value the same way.” Customisation is the  keyword. Some researchers already do this unconsciously, for example by giving presentations outside a scientific setting. Entrepreneurship does not aim to reinvent the wheel but adapt the valorisation process to the needs of the target group and desired impact in mind.

Drop of willpower 
In addition to a willingness to develop or strengthen entrepreneurial qualities, participants are characterised by another notable quality: willpower. The academic system within social sciences and humanities is not (yet) set up to transmit knowledge outside its own ecosystem. Even though the academic system consists of researchers who are as much a part of society as anyone else. REVALORISE+  helps researchers who want to step outside the scientific ecosystem, from paper to impact. Because even one small drop can create a ripple effect, resulting in social impact.

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