KWR and CWTS join forces in research on social impact

KWR and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University are going to collaborate in the area of social impact. Starting 1 January 2019, Laurens Hessels PhD was seconded by KWR on a part-time basis to CWTS. Hessels will be conducting collaborative research into the mechanisms underlying valorisation, and into methods and indicators for the assessment of social impact. This knowledge will support the water sector in effectively and efficiently implementing available knowledge when addressing societal challenges associated with sustainability and climate.

Bridging science to practice

As expressed in its motto, ‘Bridging science to practice’, for KWR the use of knowledge by society is of crucial importance. Practical implementation of research outcomes is central to our work, and we have the ambition to develop a more systematic approach to demonstrate the value and impact of our knowledge. Valorisation, the translation of knowledge into social value, is also of great importance for our clients, both within and outside the water sector. Given the urgency of today’s major societal challenges in the areas of sustainability and climate, water utilities, Water Authorities and industry all want to make use of the available knowledge in an effective and efficient manner.

Knowledge-based society

For CWTS (Leiden University) the development of new approaches to the assessment of knowledge value is also a key objective. Among the goals of the CWTS research programme is that of shedding light on the relationships between scientific quality and social impact, and on the interaction between assessment practices and knowledge production. The subject of valorisation forms an integral part of this programme, also because of the crucial role of the production and dissemination of knowledge within the knowledge-based society.

Laurens Hessels secondment

The collaboration between the two institutes will focus both on research into the mechanisms underlying valorisation, and on methods and indicators to assess social impact. To concretise the collaboration, starting 1 January 2019, Laurens Hessels was seconded by KWR on a part-time basis to CWTS, provisionally for a period of two years.