Societal impacts of research institutions: ARL Effectiveness Study

The ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association bases its work on an inter- and transdisciplinary research mode. The aim of the study is to make the added value of this mode of working visible.

Research approach

On the one hand, the ARL effectiveness study focuses on the people who are involved in the ARL network. On the other hand, the forms of cooperation in this network are to be looked at more closely. The aim is to systematically record and present the process of knowledge generation and knowledge transfer as part of the ARL’s network activities and thus determine and demonstrate the social effects of the ARL through transdisciplinary knowledge production and transfer. Personal motives and the benefits of involvement in the ARL network are to be investigated from the perspective of those actively participating. But also, the effects and impact potentials of the projects conducted within the ARL network are to be recorded with regard to politics, administration, civil society and economy. For this purpose, an online survey among ARL network members will be conducted as well as qualitative interviews with participants of selected ARL projects. On this basis, effects and impact pathways will be exemplified and the question of how processes and results of ARL activities can support changes in practice will be explored. With these two perspectives, the individual benefits of the participants as well as the societal effects will be shown as important components of the ARL’s achievements. In summary, the resulting conclusions should make it possible to highlight the individual facets of ARL's effectiveness and to present hypotheses regarding impact relationships, along with recommendations for further or broader impact analyses.


The science system faces the growing challenge of linking excellent research performance with its relevance for society. The aim is to place scientific knowledge about complex issues such as sustainable spatial development in a broader context, and thereby integrating problem views, questions, and expertise of professional practice. This way, robust knowledge is to be generated for problem solving that is both scientifically innovative and practical. As an institution of the Leibniz Association, the ARL – Academy for Territorial Development consistently implements this approach: Through the inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation of experts from science and practice, research questions and designs on current spatially relevant topics are developed and processed. Thus , different bodies of knowledge are integrated and new, application-oriented knowledge is created, which is communicated to other target groups in transfer formats.


The study on the unpaid, network-based knowledge production in the ARL and its effectiveness (ARL Effectiveness Study) is commissioned by the ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association (


2021/03 – 2021/10