Research for Societal Impact


The course aims to give doctoral students an opportunity to reflect on the importance of academic research and how this can lead to societal change. Starting from, and building on, the doctoral students existing knowledge, experience and research, the course will lay the foundation for an understanding of factors influencing the societal impact of academic research, improved interdisciplinary collaborations and enhanced communication skills among researchers and with society at large.

The course will introduce the students to different pathways to create impact from research to society, how to collaborate across disciplines and how to communicate science within academia as well as to the general public. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be used as an inspiration.

intended learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • Put their research in relation to societal challenges and communicate to a broader community within academia and the general public how their research might contribute to overcoming a societal challenge.
  • Identify relevant research topics at the intersection of different fields and evaluate the potential for collaboration, innovation, and impact on society.
  • Set up and manage interdisciplinary projects (research or development) utilizing relevant entrepreneurship tools to generate societal value.

Teaching and learning activitites

The course uses a student-centered educational model building on the doctoral students existing knowledge, experience, and research. Following the introduction, most of the learning will be conducted through practical work in teams. For this interdisciplinary project teams with participants from different schools and/or faculties will be formed. The teams can either choose to address challenges that have already been identified by stakeholders (i.e. UNOPs, the United Nations office for project service) or identify their own. At the end of the course, the teams will present the outcome of their work to peers and a panel of stakeholders.

compulsory elements

  • Oral presentation of one’s own research.
  • Oral presentation and opposition of team project.


  • An individual written reflection on the learning experience, including expectations, outcomes, and future application.


Mandatory literature:

  • “Productive interactions: societal impact of academic research in the knowledge society.” LERU position paper March 2017.
  • “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2023-11-06 - 2023-11-10

Course type



The course will be held in these locations:
Nov 6-7th SSES office, Saltmätargatan 9.
Nov 10th: SSES office, Saltmätargatan 9.
Note: The course is equivalent to one week of full-time studies. Scheduled in-person sessions are on the following dates: 6-7 November and 10 November. The days 8-9 November are planned for self-organised group work, which is to be presented on 10 November.


1,5 ECTS

Taught At

Karolinska Institutet

Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship




PhD students, PhD candidates and postdocs from all universities and disciplines are welcome to apply (see separate link below).

The selection of participants will be based on the relevance of the course for the applicant’s doctoral project and the date for registration as a doctoral student (priority given to earlier registration date).

The course is designed for a maximum of 30 students, and we reserve the right to admit students on a rolling basis.

We will be accepting applications up until 8th of October 2023. Only applications submitted via the link below will be considered.


The course fee will be waived for all admitted students.