Tasks and goals
Networking, communication and transfer between scientific research and non-scientific stakeholders in society are currently being explored and systematically rethought in many places in research. Discussions about responsibility and the role of science for shaping society and solving social problems are leading to reflections on the possibilities and challenges for the social impact of academic research. Against this background, the Center for Social Investment and Innovation, together with hei_INNOVATION, is developing the Social Impact Readiness Index SIRI - a toolkit for early identification, evaluation and development of the potential for social impact of academic research projects in social sciences and humanities. SIRI aims to (a) raise awareness among scientists at Heidelberg University of the potential for social impact of their work, (b) strengthen the interdisciplinary transfer culture, and (c) enable evaluation and development of social impact potential beyond economically quantifiable return logics in consulting of individual research projects. The development of the SIRI toolkit builds on theoretical and empirical research in the areas of transfer, social innovation and impact measurement. The first step was to develop a pathway model for impact of scientific work in the spheres of politics, culture, economy and civil society. Based on several interview studies conducted at the University of Heidelberg, a first prototype for SIRI was then developed. The SIRI prototype sets a framework for exploratory counselling sessions about motivation, self-perception of scientific roles and personal impact expectations, in the course of which it is possible to identify social impact paths and implementation possibilities together with the scientists.
Map of the SIRI Logic Model for identification of scientific impact potential (excerpt)