Social value of the scientific-technological activity and SROI: creation of an impact measurement system for the Knowledge Hubs of the Euskampus Foundation

How to measure the value and social impact: The real value (SROI Methodology) of a complex project inside the University. Selection of Important messages to transfer to the business sector

Elena Urdaneta

Ekhi Atutxa

Igor Campillo

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Background and Objectives
Euskampus Fundazioa (Euskampus) is an entity that catalyses the aggregation of the University of Basque Country (UPV/EHU), a Research & Technological Organisation - Tecnalia, an Basic Research Center - Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), and the University of Bordeaux.
Following the strategic mandate of its Patrons, Euskampus assumes the mission of being the instrument entity to establish mechanisms that strengthen the relationships, connection and mutual trust of its partners, and that allow to increase their joint international projection and regional engagement by deploying shared actions of training, research, transfer and dissemination of knowledge.
One of the main operative programmes of Euskampus is the management of a Community of Knowledge Hubs. A Knowledge Hub is a space of creativity and innovation generated by cooperative dynamics based on co-creation between different researchers and other agents of the Basque Country. The generating principle is the search for answers to social and global challenges through cooperative (transdisciplinary, multi-agent) training, research and innovation actions. Currently, the Community of Knowledge Hubs focuses on the areas of 1) Marine Renewable Energies, 2) Sustainable and Healthy Territories, 3) Health Sciences and Technologies, 4) Industry 4.0, 5) Digitalization and Data Science and 6) New Materials for Sustainability and Multifunctionality.
In 2018, Euskampus started an internal project to measure the social value generated by the Community of Knowledge Hubs. This project had the following main objectives:
- To build new paradigms and evaluation criteria, contextualized, and based on a debate that can lead us to think what kind of science we want and for what, that is, what is its social impact and its relevance, and to what extent we can contribute to the achievement of a more just and equitable society through the response to social and global challenges.
- To measure value, social impact and Social Return of Investment (SROI). With these measurements, Euskampus could reflect and propose new and inclusive ways of understanding how and who are part of the measurement of the value generated and also about methodologies with which evaluate. Ultimately, beyond the benefit that Euskampus could extract for its own strategic reflections and future redefinitions of its management plans, the project has the clear purpose of influencing the way in which the public and private institutions have to recognize and evaluate the value of the scientific-technological activities of the universities, technological centers and other entities that make up the Research and Technology Innovation System.
- To foster a very deep understanding of the intervention, creating the basis for a management oriented towards the optimization of the social value created.
In fact, the method of Social Return on Investment (SROI) will be used to present objective, rigorous and credible results for the interest groups surrounding the activity of the Euskampus Knowledge Hubs. A method that is characterized by its validity and international support and that enables a more sustainable intervention, empowering the relations of Euskampus with its ecosystem.