The use of Impacter in Delft

A conversation after the Vidi deadline

Published at 2018-11-30 by Paul Tuinenburg

The use of Impacter in Delft

Last month, October 4th, the deadline of the Vidi expired, which is part of one of the bigger science funding schemes in the Netherlands, the Talent Scheme (Vernieuwingsimpuls). The talent scheme offers individual grants to talented, creative researchers and has three funding instruments:

  • Veni: For researchers that recently got their PhD (€250.000)
  • Vidi: For researches that already conducted several years of research after their PhD (€800.000)
  • Vici: For senior researchers who demonstrated the ability to develop their own line of research. (€1.500.000)

The talent scheme was already launched in 2000 to boost innovative research and enabled thousands of researchers in the past to develop their talent. Since 2013, it is mandatory to write a paragraph on the societal impact of the proposed research in the Talent Scheme. We noticed the difficulties many researchers had in describing potential impact of research that didn’t even start yet. Therefore, we created Impacter in 2016, an online tool that gives automated feedback on the societal impact paragraph. Within a minute! Impacter checks for the outputs of societal impact mentioned in the paragraph, the target group of the potential impact and the feasibility. Next to that, we analyze the readability of the entire proposal, matches with policy like the ‘Nationale Wetenschaps Agenda’ and we check how unique your research idea is by comparing it to 250.000+ other already funded research projects. Since we had the Vidi deadline last month, we interviewed Corine Meuleman, funding advisor at the TU Delft about Impacter.

The TU Delft uses Impacter for a while now, what was the reason to start using it in the first place?

In Delft, innovation is in our blood, so we are always curious to see new ideas into action. We like to experiment with new products to see whether they can help us. We imagined that Impacter could help to optimize the writing process and we wanted to be a part of that from the start. We see that it opens perspective and gives feedback rather quickly. That’s really helpful, for example, researchers are sometimes hesitant to send a draft to a person when they still feel a bit unsecure. Of course, some people are sceptic, but in general we see researchers appreciate Impacter, as do we from the advisor perspective. Impacter can help to pinpoint with objective indicators why sometimes a proposal does not convince. It also gives us the opportunity to take the role of a coach which I like a lot. I prefer to focus more on strategy and structure over discovering suboptimal phrasing and readability. The latter two can be done quite well by Impacter.

Do you also use the tool yourself?

Not that much, I don’t want to get in the way of the researcher. However, I do use Impacter sometimes to be able to properly explain to researchers how it works, and to be up to date on the feedback the tool gives. I probably should use it more often. Since the new ‘search’ feature is available, I’m using it more often to find research projects that are in line with the applicant of our university. It helps to give an idea in terms of CV whether the researcher is well positioned and in terms of the research idea whether it is innovative.

Are you also interested in discovering the potential of Impacter for your university? Request a demo here!