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Accounting for social impact of universities :

Interdisciplinarity, multi-stakeholder engagement and innovation for a sustainable future

This session is going to focus on the relationship between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), generalist universities as well as profession oriented institutions and the production of innovation with a special view to sustainable development and interdisciplinarity. Universities’ production of innovation is a widely discussed issue in the literature and production of sustainable and green innovation will be with no doubt a relevant theme in the next foreseeable future. In that sense, universities, as a part of the Triple Helix Model and further improvements (quadruple, n-tuple helix), already demonstrate a growing interest in the ideas of sustainability and sustainable development, incorporating and internalizing their core principles in publications, patents, academic curricula and reports. In addition, with the global dissemination of the Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability inevitably require an interdisciplinary approach to be integrated in HEIs creation of social impacts, creating a further layer of complexity as it involves different stakeholders. This session wants to deal with the triangular relationship among innovation, multi-stakeholder engagement and interdisciplinarity, in the hotbed of sparking knowledge for sustainable development.


This session wants to group researchers who want to dig in the relationship between innovation, sustainability and interdisciplinary. The goal would be to highlight the importance of universities as pivotal local actors in managing complex multi-stakeholder networks and creating social impacts,  with their complex and interdisciplinary nature in the form of their multiple missions.

Innovative approaches to assess research, educational and communication activities within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, are considered a matter of interest, as well as proposal of platforms, methodologies and approaches, from the design up to the implementation stage of creating social impact. Boundaries, in terms of where such social impact are created, will be also object of investigation, to reveal how local networks of stakeholders are managed to match with sustainability goals at a planetary level 


  • Laura Corazza 
  • Dario Cottafava 
  • Grazia Sveva Ascione 

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