"Unfortunately, the implementation of the third mission is not yet part of the DNA of most academic institutions. In many cases, universities don't do much to promote the impact of the work done by researchers and professors, and oftentimes research initiatives are following a trend rather than pursuing a mission", says Andrea Di Anselmo, President of META Group.
This is not the case of the Polytechnic University of Turin, the oldest Italian public technical university. The institution was awarded by the European Commission with the "HR Excellence in Research", a distinction that recognizes the commitment in ensuring a positive and attractive environment for researchers from all over the world. Research and education are pursued together with a deep cooperation with the socio-economic actors. This facilitates the knowledge transfer and leads to a tangible impact in the economic, societal and scientific sphere.
Enabling impact in Horizon Europe projects
At the University of Turin, META Group delivered a capacity building exercise for both the technical and administrative staff and the researchers. The aim of this pilot was to raise awareness and strengthen know-how on how to enable impact when implementing Horizon Europe projects. The focus was on how to create the context for maximising impact, which is becoming a critical aspect of research initiatives supported by Horizon Europe and also by other funding programs, such as NEXT GENERATION EU, national and regional funds, private national and international donors, etc..).
META proposed a "pathway" that engaged side by side the staff of the EU research office and those involved in research activities. The exercise included a workshop for the university staff followed by a webinar for the researchers to analyse impact in Horizon Europe projects.
The programme also included an on-site writing lab on how to prepare a solid and competitive impact section in a EU-funded proposal. This last session was open to researchers and professionals from the technical staff and research office to improve the most critical aspects of the impact section in their current projects or applications.