Impact Spider

An instrument for independently assessing the impact orientation of projects and consortia

Addressing the issue of impact of research in order to generate additional value for society, politics and economy gains ever more importance for funding institutions and therefore also for project consortia. This is all the more important in projects from Horizon 2020, as impact is one of three criteria when evaluating research projects.
But often, it is very difficult to describe and implement the impact, that research will have – especially prior to conducting the project. However, looking into direction and structure of tasks and goals as well as at the consortium allow a first prediction of the impact potential the foreseen project has.

Here, the “Impact Spider” can help to facilitate planning and evaluating projects in terms of impact relevant aspects. The “Impact Spider” is an instrument that supports generating and optimizing impact in a structured way by asking the right questions. In the form of a checklist and as “food for thought” the ”Impact Spider” helps to direct the project and the consortium to more impact orientation and to write the impact section of the proposal in a more systematic way. It can also be used when conducting the project to constantly focus on creating impact.
The instrument is based on results of the German research project “Enabling Innovation” (coordinated by the German aerospace center DLR; project members: Rheinische Fachhochschule Cologne, Goergen & Koeller GmbH). In this project criteria were identified that differentiate successful from less successful research institutes in terms of their innovative ability. These criteria have been refined for the “Impact Spider” to support project consortia at addressing the impact topic of the proposal.

The instrument is used in the form of a self-assessment, where users evaluate the statements on a scale from 1 for „not given“ to 5 for „fully given“. The second table sheet shows the evaluation in the form of a spider web diagram. This way, needs for optimization can easily be identified. The column “Relevant Tasks for Impact Planning” gives additional suggestions in the form of questions that should be considered when focusing the project on impact.

If you have any further questions, please contact Dr Christoph Köller.