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Societal impact

Societal relevance

EMGO+ aims to produce excellent scientific research, but this research only fulfills its potential when it benefits society at large. Striving for societal impact not only justifies our use of public funds, but also provides focus for our research projects and direction for the institute’s policy. We use the indicators proposed by the Dutch Health Council to evaluate and monitor the societal impact of our research.

This includes:


In 2015 EMGO+ researchers contributed to at least 69 clinical guidelines / health policy reports on various topics, reflected in the form of co-authorships. These guidelines and policy reports contribute to evidence-based practice and thus represent an important aspect of the societal impact of our research. A detailed list of these EMGO+ contributions to a directive, protocol or policy note can be found in appendix 12. In addition to the clinical guidelines and health policy reports, there are articles in national professional journals, articles written for the general public and (chapters in) handbooks that we consider contributing to the societal impact of our research. These products are included in appendix 5, in particular under the headings professional and popular publications. Appendix 11 lists the EMGO+ memberships of civil society advisory bodies in the public or commercial field through which we can translate our scientific insights directly into policy, medical practice and medical products.       

Media attention for EMGO+ research

The results of EMGO+ research projects attract substantial attention from the media (see appendix 14). Our researchers were interviewed on television multiple times, and 31 interviews on national public radio were broadcasted. Interviews and articles about research projects and their results were published locally or nationally in at least 92 newspapers (online and print) and 62 magazine articles (online and print) and in at least 40 different other online sources (e.g., weblogs, newsfeeds and online newsletters).

The internet is arguably the most important source of health information. Therefore, websites can be highly relevant for measuring the societal impact of EMGO+’s research. The EMGO+ Institute maintains a number of own websites, in part conveying general information, in part explaining the rationale and/or the results of our ongoing research and research collaborations. The list of our most important websites is given in appendix 15.

A further indicator of societal impact is the many invitations EMGO+ researchers receive to deliver lectures to health care professionals, policy makers and non-professionals. Topics covered in these presentations can be gleaned from appendix 16, which provides an overview of the 2015 lectures for various non-scientific audiences.

Our researchers are frequently involved in teaching programs based on the results of EMGO+ research projects. We have a major contribution to the regular curriculum of the bachelor and master programs of medicine (VUmc), psychology & educational science (VU FGB) and health sciences (VU FALW) as well as to the Master of Epidemiology. We also provide a substantial contribution to the ‘life long learning’ of healthcare professionals. Examples of EMGO+ involvement in this post initial education are listed in appendix 17

Research and Expertise Centers & Academic Collaborative Centers

In order to have a true impact on the daily practice of extramural and transmural health care EMGO+ has established over the years a number of Research & Expertise Centers and the so-called Academic Collaborative Centers (‘Academische Werkplaatsen’). The Research & Expertise Centers active in 2015 are listed in appendix 18. These centers cover specific topics of applied research and develop and provide expertise relevant to health care practice. The Academic Collaborative Centers are formal collaborations between EMGO+ and practice settings to conduct practice-based research of strong methodological rigor. Table 8 lists the EMGO+ Academic Collaborative Centers active in 2015. In these collaborative networks, practice, research, education and policy are brought together by direct collaboration between clinicians, teachers, researchers and managers.

For a large part, funding for the research done within the academic collaborative centers comes from the societal stakeholders (e.g., companies, services, institutions) so these activities directly qualify as valorization. Economic product-based valorization of research, for instance in public-private partnerships, has not yet been strongly developed in the EMGO+ Institute, although the embedded PhD program started in 2013 is already starting to provide good bridgeheads into industry (see appendix 13).

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[last modified May 24, 2016]