‘Research for Breakfast’ – A Copenhagen event concept that encourages personal relations and networks
Impact. Social innovation. Valorisation. Not so familiar with the last term? Then you are not alone. ‘Valorisation’ is still a relatively unknown concept in the academic environment of Social Sciences and Humanities, and this is what the REVALORISE+project aims to address. A complex activity by nature, we define valorisation as “all activities purposefully initiated by scholars, aimed at making research findings available and useable for non-academic actors to create significant, measurable or observable impact beyond the academic context.” So, basically, academic activities that contribute to society.
Findings in the project’s investigation phase highlight the importance for researchers to network and build close collaborative relationships with different stakeholders. Additionally, many of the successful (Lighthouse Resources – Revalorise) researchers interviewed for the project have relied on help from outside academia to realise – to valorise – their research results. In other words, collaboration and good networks are key factors to successful valorisation.
At the University of Copenhagen, we have – for the past four years hosted an event concept that aims at accommodating both collaborations and networks and we call it ‘Research for Breakfast’ (‘Forskning til morgenmad’ in Danish). Each month we invite relevant stakeholders and potential collaboration partners for a light breakfast at the university, where our researchers present findings from their recent collaborative projects. Sometimes the company or organisation partner joins the event to present the collaboration from a business perspective, and participants are also encouraged to share their experiences on the topic. The overall aim is to create a network of people who are interested in learning from each other – and it simultaneously serves as a good opportunity for researchers to gain initial contacts for potential future collaborations.
All participants are subsequently invited into a private LinkedIn group where all communication about upcoming events is posted, and everybody has an opportunity to reach out and connect. The fact that we connect with the people and not just the company is a conscious choice. First of all, people connect with each other (not organizations). Furthermore, people change jobs and positions, but by staying in touch with them on LinkedIn, we as an organization can follow them and reach out to new stakeholders when they move to different companies.
What is the return on investment, you might ask? Besides traditional research dissemination, all our events have been the starting point of new relationships. Looking at the REVALORISE+ project case studies, most of the cases in the Lighthouse series highlight personal relationships inside and outside of academia as being an essential part of creating impact through research.
Watch our introduction to ‘Research for Breakfast’ below:
By Tanja Junge
Event and Project Coordinator, University of Copenhagen