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Impact ist der Schlüssel

Publication “Impact is the key”: Our lessons learned on SHAPE-transfer

Transfer is one of the core tasks of science; this includes not only the so-called STEM disciplines, but also the humanities, social sciences and the arts (SHAPE). Patents generally do not play a role here, licenses are less important, but there is still transfer potential. Specifics of the SHAPE disciplines must be considered and addressed in order to systematically realize this potential. Based on 10 years of experience in Germany and abroad, our Christoph Köller and Josef Pinter have now published, together with Mark Mann, an article on this topic. In it, they summarize selected, action-guiding findings for SHAPE transfer officers. It shows: Impact is the key to developing and unlocking transfer potential.

The journal article “Impact ist der Schlüssel” (“Impact is the key”) is published in the pilot issue of the new journal “Transfer & Innovation”, for which Christoph Köller is co-editor (see seperate news article). The pilot issue of the journal including the article  is available (in German only) here for free.

Journal Article:

Köller, C., Mann, M. & Pinter, J. (2022). Impact ist der Schlüssel. Transfer & Innovation, 1/2022, 55-66.

Christoph Köller is co-editor of the journal “Transfer und Innovation”

Our Christoph Köller is co-editor of the newly published journal „Transfer und Innovation – Wissenschaft wirksam machen“ (“Transfer and Innovation – Making Science Effective”) from DUZ Medienhaus. “Knowledge and experiences from transfer and innovation practice definitely need to be shared even more in the community – citable if possible. The journal creates a central platform, with the help of which the community can learn from each other and get in touch with each other. This is how science is made effective,” says Christoph Köller. The November 2022 pilot issue is available free of charge, while the first regular issue will be published in March/April 2023. Among others, Mr. Köller is jointly responsible for the recommendation and selection of articles. So if you know exciting projects, innovative strategies or research approaches that you would like to share with the community, feel free to contact us with article suggestions.

The Case at Kampus Hybernsky, Charles University Prague

“The Case” creates transfer examples at Charles University Prague.

How to get knowledge transfer from the humanities and social sciences within a research institution really going? “Creating examples” and “training transfer officers” are repeatedly stated as answer to this question. Our new in-house training “The Case” addresses both: Along a trained systematic and method-based approach, transfer officers and scientists develop a facility-specific transfer case. That is “learning by doing”!

The format, which Görgen und Köller GmbH (G&K) developed together with Mark Mann (mark mann oü), has now been implemented at Charles University Prague. Based on research results on the topic of role identity in social work, on DAY 1 the team of the university including the researcher itself generated systematically three transfer ideas and summarized them in an Innovation Card. In the HOMEWORK PHASE, the three resulting groups subjected their ideas to a reality check in direct contact with the stakeholders: Are the ideas really relevant for the target group; were the assumptions from DAY 1 correct? On DAY 2 and 3, a two-day workshop, we further developed the ideas along the four dimensions of the Research Impact Card “Value”, “Offer”, “Operation” and “Budgeting”, defined an action plan and simulated a pitch.

The result is encouraging:

  • Three complementary transfer ideas suitable for implementation with the impact goal “to help poor people get help fast and easy”. Among others, they can serve the team as a best practice example.
  • A scientist (there can be more) with a changed understanding of knowledge transfer: “I was very sceptical in the beginning, but this was really useful for me”.
  • Ten employees of the transfer unit with the intention to integrate methods, approaches and ideas into their daily work: “I will use this for my own case”.

Our conclusion is therefore: more of this! A case-based and facility-specific approach means losing control on the workshop results. However, the feedback from participants shows that the courage for uncertainty pays off. “The Case” is an innovative format that creates specific examples and gets transfer officers directly into method-based and systematic working. Getting transfer from the humanities and social sciences into “doing”? “The Case” makes it possible!

Study on success factors for transformative innovation labs published

Transformative science aims to consciously help shape sustainable societal change. This can be achieved through interdisciplinary, opportunity-oriented future research and the integration of science and society. Hereby, Innovation Labs are becoming increasingly relevant as platforms and opportunity structures for collaboration between science and society. To find out how research institutions can systematically realize transformative science, KIT Innovation HUB and the Institut für Technikzukünfte (ITZ) is developing concepts for transformative research institutes together with G&K in the BMBF-funded project “TRANSFORM“.

But what specific requirements does this place on organizations and actors in the science system? What are the success factors for the effective use of integrative and transformative transfer processes? These and other questions are addressed in the G&K and ITZ study “Innovation Labs at Universities in Germany. Relevant success factors for integrative and transformative transfer processes“, which is now available in German as a discussion paper. Based on an empirical case study of nine Innovation Labs at universities and research institutions in Germany, the project team has derived relevant success factors and recommendations for action for the integration of science and society.

Assessing Impact from Research Institutions: Research project “Deep Impact” completed

As part of the “Deep Impact” project of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN), we have worked with the MfN project team over the past three years to develop a concept that enables the museum to assess and show the societal effects of its transfer activities. The approach is to demonstrate the museum’s impact by its contributions towards reaching selected Sustainable Development Goals of the UN (SDGs). For this purpose, an MfN-specific theory of change was developed and specific indicators and impact narratives developed. The method can serve as a blueprint for other research museums and institutions as well. In the publication ” Recording and presenting impact: A Guide to Identifying Indicators of Museum Knowledge Transfer Performance (DE)” (Loth et al. (2022), to which Christoph Köller and Josef Pinter, among others, contributed significantly, key findings of the project are made available to interested users.

In the course of the project, the relevance of a holistic and active impact management has become apparent. Here, impact is not only understood (as is often the case) as a justification for the existence of research, but as a framework for the strategic and organizational orientation of an institution towards desired and targeted changes. It is only through the active alignment and steering of an institution towards these intended effects that impact can be made efficient and sustainable – despite all the undisputed recording problems. Impact thus has the potential to become a management tool.

Project publication

Loth et al. (2022). Impact erfassen und darstellen: Leitfaden zur Ermittlung von Indikatoren musealer Wissenstransferleistung [Dataset]. Data Publisher: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN) – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science.

Active impact management and systematic support of SSHA knowledge exchange: Our approaches at Aspect and TransferAllianz

For us, being experts in knowledge exchange means both continuously developing through new experiences and knowledge the expertise with which we shape our projects, and sharing and reflecting on our approaches and ideas with other experts, transfer officers and scientists.

As part of Aspect’s “Aspect Festival21” (Link), Dr. Christoph Köller chaired the session “Nurturing the Impact Power of Social Sciences and Humanities – A Journey Through (Parts of) Europe”. Gerard Nijsten, initiator of the Humanities Lab AVS in Amsterdam, spoke about the effectiveness and functioning of a lab that supports impact from the humanities and social sciences.  Dr. Johannes Vogel, General Director of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, presented the impact management approach we have worked out in the joint project “Deep Impact”. He advocated our approach of actively addressing impact through a holistic impact management: “We want to lead, not to be led.”

In addition, in the interactive TransferAllianz webinar “Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts – systematically using transfer potential”, we shared experiences and know-how on transfer and impact from the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts and discussed them with transfer officers from Germany and Austria. We presented methods and a systematic approach to support transfer and stimulated a discussion about the future role of SSHA transfer officers.

In the events, we discussed and jointly further developed some of our approaches. In particular, active impact management is seen as a big chance for research institutions and universities: Mission Impossible? No! Challenge accepted? With pleasure!

Launch of the new event series: THE MONTHLY ONLINE SSHA AND IMPACT FLASHLIGHT #1

On April 7th, we launched a new online event series on impact from and with the social sciences, humanities and the arts (SSHA): The Monthly Online SSHA and Impact Flashlight. We initiated the new format in our capacity as leaders of the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts (SSHA) Special Interest Group at ASTP to provide a concise 30-minute look at new projects, exciting ideas and relevant approaches from the field of SSHA knowledge exchange and impact. Every month, impact experts, scientists or politicians report on their practical and personal experiences. Afterwards, questions can be asked and suggestions contributed.

At the launch event, Prof. Nicol Keith, Director of Research Impact and Professor of Molecular Oncology at the Institute of Cancer Studies, presented his interdisciplinary project at the University of Glasgow. He brings designers and oncologists in order to jointly generate and realize new ideas for knowledge exchange with a positive societal impact. About 40 interested people from over 15 countries attended the initial session.

The next Monthly Online SSHA and Impact Flashlight will take place on Wednesday, May 5th. Participation is free for ASTP members. For more information on the Monthly Online SSHA and Impact Flashlight, click here.

The ASTP Special Interest Group (SIG) SSHA is a pan-European network of knowledge transfer officers, impact managers and KT professionals that has been regularly exchanging and sharing ideas on current and relevant knowledge transfer topics from the SSHA since 2015. Dr. Christoph Köller leads the SSHA SIG as a member of the ASTP Programming Committee. Message us if you are interested in the SIG or would like to join the network.

We’re moving. New contact details!

Dear customers, partners and friends,

what to do when leases expire? You look for a new home!
We would have loved to cross the city border to Cologne [insider ;)], but finally we found one very close to our previous location. The “feel-good effect” hit us right here.

Therefore you will find us here from 01.06.2020:
Heinrich-Hoerle-Str. 2
50354 Hürth

With the move we are reachable under new phone numbers:
phone +49 2233 7064-303 ( main)
fax +49 2233 7064-355

Domain, e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers remain the same!

Already curious about our new office?
Photos will follow! Or – please take into account the applicable rules of Corona-compliant planning – just drop by. You are cordially invited.


„ALU-Valley 4.0 Rheinisches Revier“ – G&K entwickeln Innovations- und Anwendungszentrum

Aluminium ist ein Werkstoff der Zukunft mit vielen Einsatzfeldern. Durch die Elektromobilität beispielsweise steigt die Bedeutung von Aluminium: Es kommt als Bestandteil von Batterien, im Karosseriebau und zunehmend in der Ersatzteilfertigung (3-D-Druck) zum Einsatz. Der Rhein-Kreis Neuss gehört zu den weltweit wichtigsten Standorten der Aluminium-Industrie und startet jetzt das mit Bundesmitteln geförderte Projekt  „ALU-Valley 4.0 Rheinisches Revier“. Die zugehörige Website lautet

Görgen & Köller wurden mit der Umsetzung des Projekts beauftragt, bei dem es um die Vernetzung von Wissenschaft, Forschung, Wirtschaft, öffentlichen Einrichtungen sowie der Politik rund um den Zukunftswerkstoff Aluminium geht. Langfristig wird an einem Standort im Rhein-Kreis Neuss eine Kombination aus einem Forschungscampus, einem Lehr-, Ausbildungs- und Gründerzentrum und einem Gewerbegebiet entstehen. Im ALU-Valley 4.0 sollen (digitalisierte) Wertschöpfungsmodelle mit neuen Produkten rund um den Werkstoff Aluminium entwickelt werden, wobei insbesondere die Kunden- und Anwenderperspektive im Mittelpunkt steht.

In der nunmehr beauftragten 1. Phase des Projektes bringen wir Akteure zu einem Netzwerk zusammen, das dann den weiteren Aufbau des ALU-Valley 4.0 hin zu einem Innovations- und Anwendungszentrum für den energieeffizienten Einsatz von Aluminium vorantreiben wird.