A two-day international conference on how social sciences and humanities
can address societal challenges and optimise societal well-being

20-21 September 2017 in Cardiff, United Kingdom

Register Now

Cardiff at Night


Since the outcome of the REF procedures in the UK, demonstrating impact of scientific research made a high jump on the agendas of policymakers of research strategists, funders and science policymakers in many parts of the world. Many new insights have been generated on how this can be boosted within social sciences and humanities. Together with their stakeholders within society new consortia, methods and structures have been developed to generate more visible impact for their partners. These narratives are increasingly decisive to connect new partners and investors.

Therefore, the AESIS Network is organising an unique international conference that will bring together best practises on how to reach and optimise this impact, how to create synergy between academic and societal outcomes and how to develop research that matters. The conference will close with a signing session of some major national and international networks for a joint statement on how to “Boost Impact” for these sciences. Join us in Cardiff for ground-breaking new insights!


The conference brings together international researchers, policymakers and their societal partners in the SSH disciplines. They are invited to share insights and learn from each other’s disciplines on:

  • The role of entrepreneurship within SSH disciplines;
  • Strategic alliances between academia and societal partners;
  • Structured synergy between SSH and technical sciences;
  • Implementing SSH impact strategies for universities and regions;
  • Linking societal challenges effectively with research programs;
  • How the impact of SSH on society can be effectively measured.

We are looking forward to meeting you in Cardiff!

Programme design

Programme Impact of SSH 2017

Programme Advisory Committee

James Wilsdon Professor of Research Policy and Director of Impact and Engagement in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield; Vice Chair of INGSA
Johannes Klumpers Head of the Science Advice Mechanism Unit in the European Commission
David Budtz Pedersen Professor and Director of the Humanomics Research Centre, Aalborg University Copenhagen
Sharon Smit Director Sustainable Society, ACCOMPLISSH consortium
Marta Soler Professor of Sociology and Director of CREA Research Centre, University of Barcelona; Coordinator of the IMPACT-EV Knowledge Management Committee
Roger Kain Dean and Chief Executive School of Advanced Study, University of London; Vice-President (Research and HE Policy) at the British Academy
Rick Delbridge Academic Lead for SPARK; University Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise; Professor of Organisational Analysis, Cardiff University
Wiljan van den Akker Dean of Humanities, Universiteit Utrecht; LERU
Melanie Knetsch Strategic Lead: Interdisciplinarity and ImpactEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC);

James Wilsdon - Chair of the Programme

James Wilsdon James Wilsdon is Professor of Research Policy and Director of Impact and Engagement in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. Since 2013, he has been Chair of the UK’s Campaign for Social Science. He also chaired the independent review of the role of metrics in the management of the UK’s research system, which published its final report "The Metric Tide" in July 2015. Building on this, he recently chaired an expert panel on "Next Generation Metrics" for the European Commission, aimed at informing the design and operation of FP9.

Previously, James worked as Professor of Science and Democracy at University of Sussex and Director of Science Policy at the Royal Society. He is an editor of the Guardian's 'Political Science' blog, on science and research policy, and a regular contributor to Wonkhe. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. You can find him on twitter @jameswilsdon.

William D. Adams

William D. Adams William D. Adams is the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Adams, president of Colby College in Waterville, Maine from 2000 until his retirement on June 30, 2014, is a committed advocate for liberal arts education and brings to the Endowment a long record of leadership in higher education and the humanities.
A native of Birmingham, Michigan, and son of an auto industry executive, Adams earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Colorado College and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz History of Consciousness Program. He studied in France as a Fulbright Scholar before beginning his career in higher education with appointments to teach political philosophy at Santa Clara University in California and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He went on to coordinate the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University and to serve as vice president and Secretary of Wesleyan University. He became president of Bucknell University in 1995 and president of Colby College in 2000.
Adams’s formal education was interrupted by three years of service in the Army, including one year in Vietnam. It was partly that experience, he says, that motivated him to study and teach in the humanities. “It made me serious in a certain way,” he says. “And as a 20-year-old combat infantry advisor, I came face to face, acutely, with questions that writers, artists, philosophers, and musicians examine in their work -- starting with, ‘What does it mean to be human?’”
In each of his professional roles, Adams has demonstrated a deep understanding of and commitment to the humanities as essential to education and to civic life. At Colby, for example, he led a $376-million capital campaign – the largest in Maine history – that included expansion of the Colby College Museum of Art and the gift of the $100-million Lunder Collection of American Art, the creation of a center for arts and humanities and a film studies program, and expansion of the College’s curriculum in creative writing and writing across the curriculum. He also spearheaded formal collaboration of the college with the Maine Film Center and chaired the Waterville Regional Arts and Community Center.
As senior president of the prestigious New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), Adams has been at the center of the national conversation on the cost and value of liberal arts education. “I see the power of what is happening on our campuses and among the alumni I meet across the country and around the world,” he says. “People who engage in a profound way with a broad range of disciplines – including, and in some cases especially, with the humanities -- are preparing to engage the challenges of life. They are creative and flexible thinkers; they acquire the habits of mind needed to find solutions to important problems; they can even appreciate the value of making mistakes and changing their minds. I am convinced that this kind of study is not merely defensible but critical to our national welfare.”
Adams, nicknamed Bro by his father in honor of a friend who died in World War Two, is married to Lauren Sterling, philanthropy specialist at Educare Central Maine and has a daughter and a stepson.

Roger Kain

Roger Kain The focus of Roger's research is the history of maps and mapping for which he has obtained substantial funding, enabling employment of his principal collaborator, Dr Richard Oliver, continuously since 1987. Books published in the last 20 years include: Cadastral Maps in the Service of the State (University of Chicago Press, 1992 and winner of the Newberry Library Kenneth Nebenzahl Prize), The Tithe Maps of England and Wales (Cambridge University Press, 1995, reprinted 2011, and winner of the Library Association's McColvin Medal), Historical Atlas of South-West England (Exeter University Press, 1999), English Maps: a History (British Library, 2000), The Enclosure of Maps of England and Wales, 1585-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2004, reprinted 2011), and England's Landscape: The South West (English Heritage 2006), British Town Maps: a history (British Library, 2015) ; this accompanies an electronic Catalogue of British Town Maps hosted by the Institute of Historical Research. In 2008 he was appointed editor of Cartography in the Nineteenth Century (University of Chicago Press) and funded by US National Endowment for Humanities and Natural Science Foundation.

Externally, Roger Kain has served as Secretary and Chair of the Institute of British Geographers Historical Geography Research Group and was Chair of the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference in 2002, President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Geography Section in 2004, and a member of the DfES Higher Education Research Forum. He was a member of the UUK and HEFCE/AHRC working groups on research assessment after 2008 and a founder-member of the Research Information Network Advisory Board. He was a member of HEFCE Research Committee, 2009-13 and is currently serving on the HEFCE Metrics Review Group and REF Impact Evaluation Steering Group. Roger was a member of the AHRC Council from 2008 to 2014. He has chaired the British Academy's Human Geography and Social Anthropology Section, was founder chair of its Research Grants Committee, between 2002-10 was the Academy's Treasurer and is currently Vice-President for Research and Higher Education Policy.

David Budtz Pedersen

David Budtz Pedersen David Budtz Pedersen is Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Humanomics Research Centre, University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on research and innovation policy, digital humanities, responsible innovation, and science-based policy-making. Dr. Budtz Pedersen is former Strategic Adviser to the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. He holds PhD, MA and BA degrees in philosophy of science and science policy studies from University of Copenhagen and University of Vienna. In 2009, he was Visiting Scholar at the Department of Philosophy, New York University.

David entered the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science in 2005, working in technological foresight and science policy until 2012. In 2007, he became a member of the European Commission’s FP7 Programme Committee for the Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities, dealing with analysis and priority-setting in SSH research. In 2012, he supported the Danish Presidency of the European Union in the areas of science and innovation, co-organising the high-level conference “Science in Dialogue” at University of Southern Denmark.

Marta Soler-Gallart

Marta Soler-Gallart Marta Soler-Gallart, Harvard PhD, is Professor of Sociology at the University of Barcelona and Director of CREA Research Center. She belongs to the ORCID Board of Directors and is member of the European Sociological Association Executive Committee.

She is the Main Researcher of the H2020 project SOLIDUS and the Knowledge Management Coordinator for the FP7 Project IMPACT-EV: Evaluating the Impact and Outcomes of European SSH Research. In relation to this project, she has been involved in the development of SIOR, the first open repository on social impact of science.

Sharon Smit

Sharon Smit Sharon Smit is Director Sustainable Society at University of Groningen (the Netherlands) since 2012. Sustainable Society is the network organisation for all Social Sciences and Humanities research at the University of Groningen. She was trained in Political Sciences and International Relations. Before working at the university that she worked as a strategic policy advisor at several governmental organisations in the Netherlands and Brussels in the field of Strategy and Policy Development. Both on a personal and professional level she is highly interested in building bridges and connections between people and between organisations: collaboration is innovation. She is convinced that the role of academia is changing towards a more central position in society. In her current role as Director of Sustainable Society she coordinates the European Horizon 2020 ACCOMPLISSH project on societal impact maximasation of SSH Research, in which she develops models and methods for science to have (more) societal impact. Furthermore she coordinates the PERSON platform, an SSH research network in energy transition and is the founder of a number of co-creation initiatives.

David Sweeney

David Sweeney David Sweeney is Director (Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange). In this role he is responsible for research policy and funding (including the Research Excellence Framework), knowledge exchange and health policy. He is also responsible for the Catalyst Fund, the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and HEFCE’s international engagement. He works alongside Chris Millward (Director of Policy), who leads on education and skills.

A statistician, David worked at two BBSRC research institutes, developing mathematical models of plant growth before moving into senior management in the IT area, becoming Director of Information Services at Royal Holloway, University of London, and serving in a national role as Chair of the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association. He became Vice-Principal (Communications, Enterprise and Research) in 2004, responsible for research strategy, the 2008 RAE submission and for developing Royal Holloway's research-led commercial and consultancy activities, knowledge transfer and development programme. He joined HEFCE in 2008 as Director (Research, Innovation and Skills).

David was an adviser to the Australian Research Impact Pilot Exercise, and he has also visited many European countries and Hong Kong to advise on research assessment and funding. In 2012, he was a member of the Finch Group on Open Access to Research Outputs, and has been working with the research councils, charities, learned societies, other academic groups and publishers to take forward the Finch Group recommendations. David was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in 2012 and is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

One of the most tangible examples of how some institutions are in bold pursuit to create impact from SSH is Cardiff University, where the first Social Science Park (SPARK) is being built. While the construction of the park has just commenced this year, SPARK is already collaborating with more than ten research institutions and actively supported by the Welsh and UK government. By having the conference taking place in Cardiff, we are guaranteed to be surrounded the energetic and aspiring environment that equals the ambition of our subject matter.

20-21 September 2017

Specific location will be announced shortly.
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

This course is organised by the AESIS Network and ScienceWorks

You can register through the conference website. After registration, you will receive a confirmation via email. You will receive further details about the conference in due time. We kindly request that you register before 10 September 2017.

Participation costs are of the amount of €395. This includes two lunches, a networking reception, a social programme, refreshments, and conference documentation.

Exclusively for conference attendees, speakers and partners we organise a conference dinner on Wednesday 20 September 2017. This dinner is not included in the participation costs.

Payment of the participation fee should happen before the conference starts. You will receive an invoice together with the confirmation. Payments have to be made in Euro and free of all bank and other charges. Personal or company cheques are not accepted. All amounts are excluding VAT, if applicable.

If you are unable to attend the conference it is permitted to allow someone else to participate in your stead, if the name of the replacement is communicated before the start of the conference to the organisers. Cancellation is possible until 5 September 2017. If you cancel before 5 September 2017, we will invoice €95 administration costs. After 5 September 2017, you owe us the full amount.

Thiebault Oudendijk - Project Manager
Anika Duut van Goor – General Manager

AESIS Network
Mauritskade 5
2514 HC Den Haag
+31 (0)70 217 2018

Word by the Chair

"Across creative and service industries, public policy and civil society, the impacts of the social sciences and humanities are felt in diverse – and often unpredictable – ways. Universities and researchers are now more sophisticated in the way that they support and track these impacts. Governments and funders increasingly recognize and reward them, alongside more traditional measures of excellence. But there’s still a long way to go. As a community, we need to get sharper at articulating and demonstrating our impacts; we need to do more to link the supply-side production of evidence and expertise to the demands and priorities of wider society; and we need to extend and deepen our collaboration with the natural sciences and engineering. This conference will bring together leading thinkers, practitioners, users and policymakers to define, debate and co-design the next chapter of our shared impact agenda. I hope you’ll join James Wilsdonus.” 

Prof. James Wilsdon
Chair, Campaign for Social Science


Organised in collaboration with


Cardiff University

British Academy



Campagin for Social Sciences