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Understanding and assessing the societal impact of sustainability research: From state of the art to a process-oriented assessment plan

Peter, Sophie Elisabeth Dorothea LU (2016) In IIIEE Masters Thesis IMEN56 20161
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract (Swedish)
Sustainability research builds upon its mutual relationship with the society to find futureoriented solutions to deal with societal challenges. In other words, it is a matter of research to produce societal impact. Furthermore, funders and researchers themselves increasingly desire for accountability, to show if societal impact is achieved. To deal with that, two adaptive questions have to be answered: How can societal impact be understood or defined? And what can be learned from theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as practical examples? Built on the answers through a comprehensive literature review and expert interviews, the third question is asked: How can the assessment of societal impact of sustainability-oriented... (More)
Sustainability research builds upon its mutual relationship with the society to find futureoriented solutions to deal with societal challenges. In other words, it is a matter of research to produce societal impact. Furthermore, funders and researchers themselves increasingly desire for accountability, to show if societal impact is achieved. To deal with that, two adaptive questions have to be answered: How can societal impact be understood or defined? And what can be learned from theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as practical examples? Built on the answers through a comprehensive literature review and expert interviews, the third question is asked: How can the assessment of societal impact of sustainability-oriented Projects look in practice? The result is the development of a holistic framework on the project-level and its operationalization. It was tested on three cases of the Wuppertal Institute, which has the mission to be a pulse generator for a sustainable societal transformation. The results show that the tool is implementable and a start of an assessment series. Nevertheless, the lack of consensus
about the theoretical background influences the design of practical applications. One significant development is the focus shift of the assessment towards the project process and its productive interactions. This enables to collect data about whether societal impact is produced, but also
how. The results suggest that clear assessment boundaries are required to deal with uncontrollable externalities. Furthermore, a practical question of the thesis is, if the integration of directly involved stakeholders into the assessment provide an added value. This can be
answered positively. But it should be also observed that financial and human resources are key challenges about the extent, as well as the processing of the results. The analysis indicates that to assess societal impact is a suitable instrument and a key step to deal with societal challenges. The developed holistic framework and its operationalization can be used to inspire future
research. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Peter, Sophie Elisabeth Dorothea LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Impact Assessment, Productive Interaction, Knowledge Exchange, Sustainability Research, Multi-method Approach, Boundary Partner
publication/series
IIIEE Masters Thesis
report number
2016:18
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8890692
date added to LUP
2016-09-05 11:30:39
date last changed
2016-09-05 11:42:01
@misc{8890692,
  abstract     = {Sustainability research builds upon its mutual relationship with the society to find futureoriented solutions to deal with societal challenges. In other words, it is a matter of research to produce societal impact. Furthermore, funders and researchers themselves increasingly desire for accountability, to show if societal impact is achieved. To deal with that, two adaptive questions have to be answered: How can societal impact be understood or defined? And what can be learned from theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as practical examples? Built on the answers through a comprehensive literature review and expert interviews, the third question is asked: How can the assessment of societal impact of sustainability-oriented Projects look in practice? The result is the development of a holistic framework on the project-level and its operationalization. It was tested on three cases of the Wuppertal Institute, which has the mission to be a pulse generator for a sustainable societal transformation. The results show that the tool is implementable and a start of an assessment series. Nevertheless, the lack of consensus
about the theoretical background influences the design of practical applications. One significant development is the focus shift of the assessment towards the project process and its productive interactions. This enables to collect data about whether societal impact is produced, but also
how. The results suggest that clear assessment boundaries are required to deal with uncontrollable externalities. Furthermore, a practical question of the thesis is, if the integration of directly involved stakeholders into the assessment provide an added value. This can be
answered positively. But it should be also observed that financial and human resources are key challenges about the extent, as well as the processing of the results. The analysis indicates that to assess societal impact is a suitable instrument and a key step to deal with societal challenges. The developed holistic framework and its operationalization can be used to inspire future
research.},
  author       = {Peter, Sophie Elisabeth Dorothea},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {Impact Assessment,Productive Interaction,Knowledge Exchange,Sustainability Research,Multi-method Approach,Boundary Partner},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Masters Thesis},
  title        = {Understanding and assessing the societal impact of sustainability research: From state of the art to a process-oriented assessment plan},
  year         = {2016},
}