In January 2018, the ESFRI Strategy Working Group on Social and Cultural Innovation took the initiative to organize a conference on impact of research infrastructures, held in Bologna, at the Foundation for Religious Studies. The proceedings of the conference: STAY TUNED TO THE FUTURE. Impact of the research infrastructures for social sciences and humanities were published early April 2019.
The background for the conference was the understanding of the importance of being able to assess the value of research infrastructures, not only for research, but also for society at large. But currently there is no unified framework for the impact assessment of investment in research infrastructures.
Various conceptual frameworks exist in parallel comprising a range of observable direct and indirect effects and longer-term impacts, in particular economic impacts.
However, most of these studies and frameworks do not concentrate on Social Sciences and Humanities. SSH Research Infrastructures are very well suited to take into account the future of society. Their experiences and variety stress the impact of SSH RIs beyond research: it affects the vision of decision makers and social actors. Furthermore, core aspects of RI benefits, such as their impact on human and social capital formation and innovation, are not sufficiently explored.