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.

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