Dear <<First Name>>,
The pandemic has once again shown us the great importance of scientific knowledge impacting political decision-making. Thankfully, many governments have accepted that science is crucial in dealing with the current crisis, and many other challenges that face us. But in order to strengthen and maintain this relationship and its effects, it is extremely important to facilitate and structure pathways that enable implementing strong scientific evidence in policy cycles.
Therefore, in light of the ever-growing relevance of evidence-informed policymaking, we will dedicate the main section of this month's newsletter to this theme. We want to encourage you to keep doing research and transfer new relevant knowledge to your network to learn more about complex process that this world entails in order to solve relevant issues by generating impact.
We would like to thank the AESIS members for their contributions to this edition of the newsletter. Enjoy!
Kind regards,

30 November - 4 December 2020
7-11 December 2020

15-18 December 2020

28-30 April 2021
23-25 June 2021
NCCPE's annual Engage conference
AESIS course: Access to EU research funding by stimulating and demonstrating Societal Impact - Online
ScienceWorks Conference, 'Evidence for Policymakers', The Hague, the Netherlands
EARMA Conference; New world, new programmes, new challenges

AESIS conference: Impact of Science - Cape Town, South Africa
Evidence-informed policymaking
Providing policy-makers with up-to-date insights into the most relevant research on the pandemic
Antti Pelkonen (Prime Minister's Office, Finland)
How to keep up with the unprecented flow of research related to the COVID-19 crisis and – perhaps more importantly – how to screen the most relevant studies and to convey their messages to policy-makers and decision-makers? These are questions that most, if not all governments, presumably are wondering.
In August 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office in Finland launched a new method in order to tackle this issue. COVID-19 Research Review compiles latest research results related to various dimensions of the crisis, globally and from Finland, and presents them in a concise and informative manner. The objective of the Review is to provide decision-makers and government officials with insights into the latest and most relevant research results related to the crisis.
The review is structure around 11 categories of the COVID-19 crisis: 1 COVID-19 infection, 2 Impacts of Restriction Measures on the Epidemic, 3 Impacts of the Pandemic on Welfare of the Population, 4 Economy, 5 Inequality, 6 Education and Learning, 7 Technology and Innovations, 8 Environment and Sustainable Development, 9 International Relations, EU and Security, 10 People and Behaviour, and 11 Resilience and Foresight. A team of leading Finnish scientists has been nominated to cover these areas and screen related research. Every three weeks the Review is distibuted by email among Government ministries and is also openly published in the web. The Review has been very well received and raised a lot interest also beyond the Government. 
COVID-19 Research Reviews can be downloaded here (in Finnish).
Public policy & the data revolution - CRDCN conference video recordings available
Canadian Research Data Centre Network
The Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) in partnership with Statistics Canada presented its 20th anniversary conference in October. 12 panels showcased the impacts of CRDCN enabled research as an exemplar of social science research for public policy.

The conference featured a cross-cutting research for policy series as well as special interest panels including: Microdata access: perspectives from Canada, France, the UK and the US, Response to COVID-19: first wave assessment and second wave planning, and, Privacy and microdata access: two worlds colliding?
All video recordings, including their Q&A portions are available free of charge in the past sessions page.
The Institute on Governance (Canada) has launched a multi-year initiative 'Beyond Endless Frontiers: Renewing the Social Contract for Science and Innovation' examining the need to renegotiate the post-WWII social contract and develop the elements of a new relationship. Each AESIS Newsletter will include part of a series about the new social contract initiative, highlighting an important element in each edition.

This month:

Reliable Knowledge Informing Policy
In the afterglow of the Second World War, society afforded scientists a high level of prestige and science enjoyed a privileged position within the corridors of power. Today, the relationship between science, policy and society is under strain. The rise of “junk science,” a decline of trust in institutions, and the promulgation of “fake news” and “alternative facts” challenge scientific evidence and the integrity of research and science advisory processes. The traditional modes for communicating scientific knowledge are being disrupted. Along with a move to open science, we are seeing the rise of “predatory publishers” whose lax review methods have led to more dubious claims in the scientific literature. As science has become more specialized and complex, it is increasingly regarded as unapproachable, confusing, and elitist.

As a body of knowledge, science has a lot to offer decision-makers. Equally important for its role in decision-making is its particular method of discovering and ascertaining reliable knowledge. In the scientific method, knowledge always remains open to be challenged in the face of new evidence. However, in this “post-trust / post-truth” era, the scientific community needs to work harder to find more effective ways of clearly communicating reliable knowledge while recognizing that science is but one input to policy among many, including economic, political, legal, diplomatic and other considerations.

As we rethink the social contract for the 21st century, there is an important opportunity to engage in broad discussion on the role of reliable scientific knowledge in informing our public decisions and choices.

Jeff Kinder & Rhonda Moore (Institute of Governance, Canada)
Responding Together in Real Time: Collaboration and Co-ordination in the Face of Public Health Emergencies
Genome, Canada
The Canadian Science Policy Conference was held virtually November 16-20, 2020. The conference saw a diverse audience with participants from all around the globe. Genome BC led a panel discussion looking to address: How do we better co-ordinate in terms of timing, process and prioritization? Where did existing systems help and where did they fall short? What lessons can we draw for future evidence-informed policy and action?
Panelists included Drs. David Patrick, Director of Research, Professor, BCCDC, UBC School of Population and Public Health; Caroline Colijn, Canada Research Chair in Mathematics for Infection, Evolution and Public Health, Simon Fraser University and member of the federal COVID-19 Expert Panel, assembled by the Chief Science Advisor of Canada; Nel Wieman, Psychiatrist and President, Indigenous Physicians Association in Canada (IPAC) and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, First Nations Health Authority; and Cara Tannenbaum, Professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal and Departmental Science Advisor for Health Canada.
Following a presentation from each panelist, three breakout sessions discussed the impact of Covid-19 and the role of from the BC, Federal and Indigenous perspectives. Lastly, a panel discussion focused on lessons learned from the updated relationship between policy and science, the processes that need to change and which silos must be broken down.
Impact in practice
Targeting a life-threatening gut condition in preterm babies
Rebecca Thompson (Quadram Institute, U.K.)
During 2018 only 17% of UK Neonatal Intensive Care Unit wards were routinely supplementing milk with probiotics and the risks of mortality from gut infections and illness were significant. A collaboration between the Quadram Institute and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has led to convincing evidence in support of a policy of routinely providing probiotics to preterm babies as a preventative measure.
This research has already supported a policy change at the hospital concerned. However, the researchers are hoping that this data will also encourage a change in national policy for pre-term babies that could potentially save numerous lives. Read the full article here.
Coronavirus and the Law in Europe
Marta Santos Silva, Ewoud Hondius, Andrea Nicolussi, Pablo Salvador Coderch, Christiane Wendehorst and Fryderyk Zoll
Marta Santos Silva, Ewoud Hondius, Andrea Nicolussi, Pablo Salvador Coderch, Christiane Wendehorst and Fryderyk Zoll, edited the book “Coronavirus and the Law in Europe”, whose online version was published by Intersentia in August 2020.
This collection of more than 50 chapters by more than 80 reputed European scholars and practitioners is intended to serve as a “toolbox” for domestic and European judges, who will soon be dealing with the interpretation of coronavirus- and COVID19-related legislation and administrative measures, as well as the disruption the pandemic has caused on society and fundamental rights. Additionally, this book is aimed at assisting businesses and citizens, who wish to be informed about the implications of the virus in the existence, performance, and enforcement of their contracts.
The online, freely accessible version is available here.
Impact at Tilburg University
Martin van der Broek (Tilburg University, the Netherlands)
Podcasts Focus on Impact
The TiU’s Impact program launched the podcast series 'Focus on Impact' with the first series 'Youth in Times of Corona'. The lockdown as a result of the Corona pandemic affects especially young people and children.
In an important phase of their lives they find themselves in a crisis of which the impact, scope and depth are not known. How do we prevent the emergence of a corona generation? Researchers and experts from the field addressed this question in three interviews. The podcast can be found on spotify and here.

Tilburg University Impact Award
The Tilburg University Impact Award - € 10,000 and a cup - was presented to Dr. Andrea Rozema, with her research into smoke-free school grounds in secondary education. From the nineteen projects submitted, all of high quality and diverse in nature. Videos with a presentation of the three nominees and more information can be found here.

Launch event "Unlocking The New Common"
TiU publication "The New Common" was officially presented in the form of an urban debate in the city library LocHal in Tilburg. Fifty Tilburg scientists contributed to the book. In the debate, scientists, administrators, students and other representatives of Tilburg society came together in five rounds. The new opportunities and threats in the field of health care, generations, local governance and participation and the digital transformation were discussed.The event and publication have been made possible by the Impact program of TiU.
More information can be found here.
From our members
University-industry Ecosystems as Startup Experimentation Hotbeds
Koenraad Debackere (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Recent insights in the field of startups and venturing have highlighted the important impact of simultaneous experimentation in the search for a venture's business model. Rather than jumping to an approach of focused commitment, a strategy where the venture engages in a portfolio of simultaneous experimentation offers a viable option for its long-term survival.

Read the full article here.
Assessing the impact of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals - Mission (im)possible? 
Julia Wiedemann, Susanne Schmitt, Josef Pinter, Christoph Köller
Research museums in Germany have been following the call for an assessment of their transfer into society. Recently, several indicator sets have been developed to evaluate their various activities of knowledge exchange. Many of them have concentrated on the number of activities and reached audiences, while others have captured the spontaneous effects on target groups. However, a common method is lacking to show what societal effects the transfer activities of research institutions can have.
The project “Deep Impact” at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin aims to develop such a concept for the museum. We hope that it can serve as a blueprint for other research museums and institutions as well. Our approach is to demonstrate the museum’s impact by its contributions towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN (SDGs), notably with regards to biodiversity, resource efficiency and public health. The relevant tool is a plausible impact narrative that we will develop for the museum’s transfer activities in our project.
In our article, we would like to present some first results of our ongoing project. First, we will briefly explain what SDGs we have chosen as a reference point for our impact assessment of the museum. Second, we outline how we go about modelling the impact narrative with the help of strategic goals of the museum and indicator-driven data on the museum’s activities.
Kickstart of the Third Mission panel "GEV TM"
Brigida Blasi (National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes, Italy), Marilena Maniaci (ANVUR Board of Directors, Full Professor at the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio)
The third round of Evaluation of Research Quality (VQR 2015-2019) has entered the operational phase and a specific Third Mission panel has been established, the GEV TM – Third Mission Evaluation Expert Group.
The panel is made up of 30 Experts chosen by ANVUR from over 300 candidates of two public calls, one directed to researchers, the other open to external experts and stakeholders.

The aim was to guarantee a balance between highly qualified scholars and experts from public administrations and no-profit organizations, industrial and financial system, cultural institutions and territories. The panel will evaluate those activities carried out by the Universities and Research organizations, generating impact during the evaluation period. The first task to cope with is the elaboration of the criteria to assess the submitted case studies, using five quality levels. Specifically the social, economic and cultural dimension of the impact, the relevance in the context, the added value for the beneficiaries and the contribution of the submitting institution will be taken into account.
2015-2019 VQR exercise refers to an "open" definition of impact and it aims to give individual institutions the opportunity to enhance their own Third Mission initiatives with greater social impact. You can find updates and info on the set of fields that define Third mission, here.
Research infrastructures for societal impact
Johan Blaus (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
Research infrastructures are crucial for conducting leading research and ensuring that engineering students and doctoral students are well equipped to meet the challenges of the future and create societal Impact.
As a technical university, KTH naturally has this as a priority issue. KTH also sees that research infrastructures are an important part of pursuing an agenda around OpenAccess as these constitute arenas for collaborations with external actors. By strategically developing the accessibility of research infrastructures, increased opportunities are also created for KTH's research and education to gain access to external actors' infrastructures and lab facilities. In this way, resources are utilized in a better way and knowledge development and knowledge dissemination can be expanded. KTH works actively to offer other universities and companies the opportunity to use equipment and instruments in order to contribute to creating sustainable national research infrastructures, innovations and increased societal Impact. A process has been developed to establish so-called KTH Research Infrastructures. These research infrastructures are designated through applications that are granted with additional funding to create increased visibility, accessibility and utilization. The established KTH Research Infrastructures are strategic, accessible to many actors and have a large number of users. They have a long-term plan for organization, quality development and financing as well as how they create benefits for society. There are currently 11 KTH Research Infrastructures established with a clear pricing structure for users and there is a plan for how these will be further developed and that more KTH research infrastructures will be established.

Click here for more information.
The Estonian Science Barometer
Mare Ainsaar, Marju Himma-Kadakas, Aivi Themas, Ragne Kouts and Siim Espenberg (Tartu Ülikool, Estonia)
On November 10, the results of the Estonian Science Barometer (ESB) were made public. The method for the science barometer has been developed by the University of Tartu, and follows the methodological models of science barometers in other European countries, like in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland etc.
This was tested and evaluated by the first wave of data collection. The representative sample of the Estonian population used, was of the age of 16 and higher and it consisted of 1000 respondents with whom the phone interviews were carried out.

The first survey reveals that the Estonian population is interested in science (66 per cent are interested) and generally trust scientists and researchers (78 per cent tend to trust). Particularly high is interest in science among male respondents younger than 65 years who have university degree. The Estonian population sees scientists and researchers as experts (89 per cent agree) – the respective evaluation is higher than e.g. in Germany. The Estonian respondents appreciate the work the researchers and scientists do and even 90 per cent agree that science need to be financed even if the results cannot be used for their immediate practical benefits. The state needs to support research more (do agree 87 per cent) and politicians need to take the expertise by scientists into account in their decisions (do agree 85 per cent). There are general expectations that science needs to be communicated more in the public sphere. The survey is planned to be repeated every five years.

View the report (not in English) here.
A Proposal to Revise and Simplify the Disruption Indicator
Loet Leydesdorff, Alexander Tekles and Lutz Bornmann
The disruption index (DI) based on bibliographic coupling and uncoupling between a document and its references, was first proposed by Funk & Owen-Smith (2017) for citation relations among patents and then adapted for scholarly papers by Wu et al. (2019). However, Wu & Wu (2019) showed that this indicator can be inconsistent. We propose a revised disruption index (DI*) which solves these issues and makes the indicator theoretically more robust and consistent.
The sometimes small, but significant improvements are elaborated in simulations and empirically. The relation between "disruption" and bibliographic coupling is further specified.

Read the full article here.
Upcoming AESIS events

'Access to EU Research Funding through Societal Impact' course

7-11 December

Online, hosted from Brussels, Belgium

Research institutions, most notable Universities (of Applied Sciences) throughout the EU are increasingly in the position to apply for EU research funding.

This 5-half-days online course invites research managers and administrators to profit from the knowledge of our Impact and EU experts to put their insights to practice. The course will map out recent insights and results on measuring the impact of EU research and outline how the Union defines societal and economic impact. More information

'Impact of Science' Conference

On the Transformative Power
of Science

23-25 June 2021

Cape Town, South Africa

Save the date!

More information will follow soon...

If you cannot wait any longer, take a look at the 2020 Impact of Science conference here.
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