Researchers of Utrecht University (amongst others) can use the online tool Impacter for feedback on the societal impact section of their research proposal already since 2017. The tool gives you an overview of similar funded research and of the main ingredients of a good societal impact section, such as the obligatory knowledge utilization paragraph in all NWO proposals. Elske Salemink, associate professor in Clinical Psychology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, used the tool for her successful Vidi proposal. A short interview.
You received a Vidi this year. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about your research?
I work within the field of clinical psychology, specifically to better understand how anxiety disorders work. How do these disorders emerge, but also, how do you get rid of it? Right now, there is a long waiting list for cognitive behavioral therapy in the Netherlands and we also see that for a group of patients it doesn’t seem to work that well. The aim of my Vidi is to predict who the therapy directly will affect and for whom it might be better to first offer some other type of care.
How is the societal impact secured in this project?
If we are able in the end to predict who will be helped, we make the healthcare system much more efficient. Right now, treatment approximately works for 50%. So, we can make a big difference. In the project, we will develop a mobile application that will help therapists in a couple of ways. Because we are developing early measurements of anxiety disorders, and because we can link symptoms with each other, we give more insight for the therapist. That in itself will be valuable already. If we also find good prediction metrics it will directly help the therapist to decide for which patients the cognitive behavioral therapy will be most effective.
Where did you find support during the writing process?
Through the Research Support Office (RSO) in my faculty and colleagues. The RSO also pointed me towards Impacter as a useful tool to check the knowledge utilisation paragraph. With previous applications, I noticed that knowledge utilisation is an important topic for many funders, also in the Vidi. Over the years I learned that every piece of feedback can be helpful and Impacter seemed a very easy way of receiving feedback, specifically on the knowledge utilisation part. It was fast, easy to use and gave helpful feedback.
Do you have any tips for other researchers regarding the use of Impacter?
For a future application, I will definitely use it again. The only note I will have to my future self, and others that might want to use the application, is to use it earlier in the writing process. That will give time to adjust the text and rerun it, plus to go over the remarks with colleagues or supporting staff.
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