The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) organised a research quality assessment in October 2017, as part of the mandatory periodical assessment of research groups in the Netherlands.
For the assessment, the Institute worked on the basis of the renewed national Standard Evaluation Protocol, developed by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences et al., 2016). Of the three main assessment criteria, the criterion of ‘societal relevance of research’ has achieved much more prominence of late, as it became one of the three central elements in the Standard Evaluation Protocol for the 2015-2021 period.
This paper describes the experience with performing an assessment of societal relevance on the output of the research programme ‘Global Development and Social Justice’ at the International Institute of Social Studies.
Section 2 provides an overview on ISS and its research programme. Section 3 discusses the logic of including societal relevance in the Standard Evaluation Protocol, while section 4 elucidates the way in which ISS performed its self-assessment on societal relevance, with a focus on data collection. The final section discusses the outcome of the evaluation and reflects on the lessons that can be learnt from the self-assessment of societal relevance of research.

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Hout, W, & Smit, N.J. (2018). Working on Societal Relevance. In STI 2018 Conference Proceedings : Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (pp. 1586–1594). Retrieved from