ASSERT Toolkit for Social Impact Assessment

“We at the European Commission strongly endorse the idea of ASSERT to make consideration of societal impact of security research a mainstream topic of European research policy…”
Marco Malacarne, Head of Unit for Security Research and Industry, DG Enterprise.

The need for considering societal impacts of EU security research has been acknowledged on many occasions by different actors. The problem is that in traditional thinking, societal impacts are reduced to side effects of instrumental (technological and legal) security measures. This binary thinking has to be overcome. It should and can be demonstrated that societal dimensions of security research taken into account from the very beginning of the “design process” can increase the variety pool of feasible solutions.

Starting from a synthesis of state of the art discussions on societal security, we are identifying best practice cases exploring and assessing societal impacts of science and technology in the security domain and beyond, and analysing their structural properties. This is being done in a multidisciplinary fashion from different perspectives, including end-users, stakeholders, researchers, policy-makers and NGOs. Bringing together these different perspectives in a series of workshops will create the basis for the development of a tool and a strategy for the sustainable implementation of societal impacts in future EU research activities in the field of security.

The Toolkit presented on these pages has been developed by the ASSERT consortium to provide guidance, tools and resources for societal impact assessment in security research.  More information about the ASSERT project can be found at

The ASSERT methodology relates to the process of security research, and not to the products and technologies. This is in line with the Commission’s Action Plan for a competitive security industry in the EU, which is, among other means, to be achieved by “Better integration of the societal dimension, by thoroughly assessing social impacts including impacts on fundamental rights, and by creating mechanisms to test the societal impact during the R&D phase

Reinhard Kreissl – what is societal impact assessment? from David Barnard-Wills on Vimeo.

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