Impact Program

Create more societal impact through your research and teaching

The work you do as a researcher and teacher is important. But how do you increase your societal or economic impact? What kind of strategy do you need? How do you present the story behind your research more clearly, with more emphasis on output and relevance? Who might be interested in your project or idea? And how do you approach these parties? The Impact Program will provide you with answers to these questions and more.

Who is this program for?

  • You’re a researcher who wants to get better at creating impact. You have an appointment at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC or VU Amsterdam.
  • You’re a mid-career assistant or associate professor with a track record in research. You already have some experience working with external parties.
  • You preferably already have a project or idea that you want to develop and take to the next level.

The Impact Program is relevant to all academic disciplines.


Every aspect of the program is geared towards strengthening the skills you need to create impact. You will have:

  • knowledge of what Impact entails and the importance of creating Impact;
  • an impact or communication strategy to take the next step towards Impact;
  • met a cohort of motivated colleagues who all want to make a difference in the world;
  • gained insight into yourself and your environment when it comes to Impact;
  • gained practical tools (e.g. stakeholder analysis) and practical skills (negotiation and communication)to be able to create Impact.

In a nutshell

The Impact Program is highly varied and includes:

  • Intake interview;
  • 4 thematic Modules: 3,5 days in total;
  • 2 writing sessions in which you work on your impact strategy, 1 half-day and session and one session of 2 hours;
  • 2 intervision sessions, 1 half-day session per participant;
  • Homework assignments prior to the modules and in between meetings.


  • Program: a total of 6 days over a 6-month period
  • Starting dates 2024: twice a year: March 21 in Dutch and September 26 in English
  • Starting dates 2025: twice a year: March 18 in Dutch and October 2 in English
  • Costs: €2,750 (€1,375 budget faculty, department or OZI and €1,375 funded by IXA)
  • Application process: participants are nominated by their department, faculty board or research institute
  • Maximum participants:  14
  • More information? Contact Diane Schöller at
  • Register: your department manager can register you through the faculty board or board of your research institute for the program. You can also indicate to your manager yourself that you are interested.

More about the Impact Program

MODULE 1 | Motivation and scientific storytelling: what’s my story? (1 day)
Explore the why question: what story do you have to tell? And for whom? What’s your motivation for doing research and creating impact? Why do you want to make a difference, what problem are you addressing, how is your work relevant to society? And what internal and external processes should you take into account?

MODULE 2 | Collaboration and communication: how do I connect? (1 day)
How do you network, negotiate and collaborate with others? What kind of strategies can you use? Who do you want to collaborate with and how can you tailor your communication to potential partners? How do you handle resistance? How can you exert influence, both inside and outside your organisation? Practise conversational situations (with actors) in different settings and at different levels, based on your own case.

WRITING SESSION | Creating your impact strategy (1 half-day and 1 session of 2 hours)
In this session, you will work on your personal impact strategy together with the other participants, supervised by an instructor.

INTERVISION | In-depth exploration of personal impact case (2 half-days)
Under the supervision of a senior coach and consultant with experience in business and government, you undertake a structured exploration of your own personal impact case. How should you deal with certain situations? How do you react and what kind of obstacles do you encounter in your interactions with others?

MODULE 3 | Inspiration and implementation: the how question (1 day)
You will get inspiring input on various topics and engage with experienced researchers, policymakers, industrial partners, legal experts and a communications specialist. You will use what you learn from these conversations to continue developing your impact strategy.

MODULE 4 | Presentation (1 half-day)
You will present your impact strategy in different ways and will get feedback from the IXA business- and impact developers and the trainers.

Program team:

This is what participants say about the Impact Program

Testimonials edition fall 2023

‘The impact program showed me different impact strategies, approaches and how to involve stakeholders (with confidence!). It really gave me a set of new things and skills to work with.’
Silvia De Conca, Assistant Professor, Amsterdam Law & Technology Institute, Faculty of Law, VU Amsterdam

‘Van idee naar uitwerking, welke stappen zet ik om impact te bereiken? Wie en wat heb ik daarvoor nodig? Dat totaalbeeld heb ik nu wel na het volgen van de Opleiding Impact’
Jeroen den Dunnen Principal Investigator AII, Amsterdam UMC

‘De opleiding heeft er (mede) voor gezorgd dat ik het voorzitterschap van een groot consortium vol vertrouwen op kan pakken. Ik heb nu een goede stevige basis meegekregen waar ik mee verder kan en waardoor ik er ook veel zin in heb’
Nathalie Bravenboer, Associate Professor AMS, Department Laboratory Science, Amsterdam UMC and Program director Tissue Function and Regeneration

Testimonials edition spring 2023
‘Learned to look more strategically at project plans, making topics such as communication and engaging your stakeholders much more frequent in the timeline. Also, exercises such as delivering under time pressure, pitching to lay people and negotiating with actors during module 2 have both made me more knowledgeable and also provided content that I could immediately put to use for other purposes such as a grant application.’
Bibian van der Voorn, MD and assistant professor Faculty of Science, Youth and Lifestyle, VU Amsterdam

‘I’ve always been concerned with impact; you can’t start early enough to think about the relevance of your research to society. It does require a different way of thinking, which I mastered during the Impact program. What do you want to achieve, for whom and who do you need in this process of creating impact?’
Astrid de Wind, assistant professor of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam UMC

‘During the program we discussed the different impact opportunities to see which route to impact suits best. The group of participants was an interesting mix of scientists from different disciplines. This gave zo many different perspectives. Following the program was a very positive experience.’
Esther Eiling, associate professor of Finance at the University of Amsterdam

Testimonials edition spring 2022
‘The program has taught me there are many ways in creating impact. The different approaches from other participants have inspired me to think creatively about our own project. Valuable also: open discussions with experts, networking and writing sessions for a non-academic audience.’
Margreet Stolper, XENDENS, Amsterdam UMC

“When you start as a researcher, society and colleagues from other scientific disciplines are at distance. The Impact progam is a cohort of motivated colleagues who want to make a difference in the world. It is so inspiring! And the support from the institution to spend time on this is important.”
Martin Gevonden VU-AMS, FGB

Testimonials Basic Impact Program at IXA 2021 – YouTube

‘You learn a lot, I highly recommend it’ | Vera Keil, radiologist and staff member at Amsterdam UMC
‘I highly recommend the Impact Program. You get to know new people, learn new communication styles and techniques and, most importantly, you learn a lot about yourself and what you want to achieve with your research. The program has given me much more focus when it comes to making impact through my own research.’

 ‘New ways to create impact’ | Marieke van Wieringen, associate professor at VU Amsterdam’s Department of Organisation Sciences (Faculty of Social Sciences)
‘I learned that there are multiple ways to create impact. I used to always just write a research report, but now I’ve also written accessible blog posts together with my colleagues, and we created an illustrated poster. We also engaged with various stakeholders about the results.’