Impact Program

The Tilburg University Impact Program brings together researchers and stakeholders in complex societal issues in order to advance society with the help of knowledge and innovation.

Impression Impact Conference 2018: Science with a Soul

‘The only way to truly create impact is to work together’

Visitors to Tilburg University’s 2018 Impact Conference talk about impact

Scientific research and cooperation with impact. How does that work? And why is it so important? Seven visitors to the Impact Conference hosted by Tilburg University on June 14, 2018 explain what impact means to them and how impact helps make a difference.

Text: Melinde Bussenmaker

Photography: Gerdien Wolthaus Paauw


Erlijn Linskens

‘A better world through research’

Erlijn Linskens, Consultant at Pipple

"Currently, Data Science is mainly used by commercial parties. And that is far too narrow a scope, according to the Eindhoven-based Data Science consultancy firm Pipple. “Our aim is to eventually spend 80% of our time on commercial projects and to dedicate 20% to NGOs free of charge”, says Consultant Erlijn Linskens. She delivered a pitch at the Impact Conference."

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hayde van der kooij

'Increase the impact of successful approaches by applying them even more widely'

Hayde van der Kooij, Consultant, Major Alliance

“I’ve acquired experience working with both universities and research institutes where young people are being educated. I was pleasantly surprised by Tilburg University’s viewpoint regarding social impact and how research can create a better future for everyone in society. The Impact Conference revealed how it is possible to employ data and research to make an impact not just on a large scale but also a small scale.”

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Marieke de Kort

'Expand your horizons and work together'

Marieke de Kort, Sustainability Program Manager, Tilburg University

“I see having a social impact as an important task for Tilburg University. We should always look at how our research can help serve the public interest. But simply conducting research isn’t enough. To have meaning, it requires teamwork. During the IMPACT Conference, I saw a wide range of organizations - from small to large - that are all contributing to having an impact. We need each other.”


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Sander Kern en Rob van den Hurk

Tilburg University and the City of Tilburg working together: A long-term investment

Sander Kern, Program Manager, Education and Employment Opportunities, City of Tilburg

“For me, social impact means doing something together that will have an effect on society. Tilburg is involved with various tasks that we want to address together with academics. We make the policies, but in doing so we want to make decisions that will benefit the city and its residents. Research is one of the ways we’d like to use to accomplish this.” Rob van den Hurk, Senior Policy Officer, Economic Affairs and Employment Opportunities, City of Tilburg."

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Jantine Schuit

'Generating an impact: not a linear process'

Jantine Schuit, Dean of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

“For me, social impact means contributing in the form of knowledge to solving a social issue. Although this is usually not a linear process, it’s often proposed as such. You don’t start out with a problem and then devise a product. An impact can become evident during the research process and sometimes even before it starts. If you’re a researcher articulating your research question, for example, you’ll have to consult with your client in greater detail about what you want to know, why, and what you want to achieve. You have to search for the questions behind the question. Once you’ve done that, you’ve already learned a lot. To acquire the knowledge to help get you this far, you will have to work with others.”

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Stefan de Jong

'An academic career with a social impact'

Stefan de Jong, a post-doc researcher at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

“I’m an indirect do-gooder: I want to help others make the world a better place. The IMPACT Conference is important. In the academic world, it’s primarily publishing that determines your status. So, working on having a social impact might not be so good for your image if it eats into the time you could spend on publishing. That’s what academics are afraid of. This means we have to talk about how we value researchers because creating an impact shouldn’t compromise a career.”

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