During the preparation of a European project it is necessary to include a plan that foresees the expected economic, social, and environmental impact, as we have already seen here.


In this article, we will focus on measuring and tracking social impact.


Let’s go through all the elements and steps point by point. 


What are impact indicators?


In order to define impact indicators we can refer to the concept of a self-feeding circle of impact where we find:


  • The definition or design of the expected impact, in relation to the reference program.
  • Implementation,e. the strategic plan linked to the project proposal and the various expected results.
  • Evaluation and monitoring, with regard to the project’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), in order to intervene when necessary. In addition, the data collected will continuously influence project development and evaluation, both during and after the project, to ensure its sustainability.

Guidelines for measuring social impact


Social impact in European projects involves the achievement of specific objectives highlighted in European policies. It also includes global research and innovation challenges, achieving the social benefits of improved living conditions, and strengthening the sustainable and inclusive development of the societies in which we live.

Misurare e monitorare gli impatti sociali


 Which indicators should be considered when defining social impact?


If we use the Framework of Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) as a guiding framework on the essential aspects of the social system that needs to be supported, we find that a socially sustainable society can be ensured when people are not subject to structural barriers to:

(1) health, (2) influence, (3) competence, (4) impartiality and (5) meaning-making.

Theoretically, we can apply these principles to many different scenarios to guide decision-making and monitoring. For instance, they could be used to achieve more sustainable product innovation, sustainable management of the entire value chain, as well as sustainable transport and mobility development.




 How do we establish verification criteria?


As already seen in the economic impact article, in order to define the verification criteria, it is essential to involve the main players by setting up active workshops to understand what social expectations each organization has, and how these can be translated into results (i.e. operational objectives).


At the end of this examination, we will have established KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which will allow us to monitor a number of things, for example:

  1. The impact that the project will have in terms of social development.
  2. The improvement of living conditions, as well as improvement of aspects such as integration, greater respect for diversity, and guaranteed and equal access for all members of society, regardless of diversity or other conditions.


How do we properly define our KPIs?


In order to define KPIs correctly, we will need to involve multidisciplinary teams capable of predicting the expected social impact on different areas. 


Do you need any help defining the impact of your project or do you want someone to review what you’ve written?


Feel free to contact me to arrange a meeting: I will be delighted to answer any questions you may have!   


Sara Canella

Sara Canella

EU Funding, Innovation & Marketing

I am a freelance consultant specialized in applying for and managing European funding for companies and start-ups active in the field of research and innovation. My work includes the creation of business plans, development plans and marketing plans aiming at applying for European calls for proposals. My objective is to provide companies active in innovation with some concrete tools to start their projects and with my know-how to convert them into real business opportunities.