Linking Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainability Expertise


LIAISE was established as part of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (2009) as a Network of Excellence in order to improve the application of Impact Assessments by both the research and the policy making communities. Its focus is on policy development relating to sustainable development strategies. The main approach of the LIAISE Network of Excellence is to identify and bridge the existing operational gaps between researchers of Impact Assessment tools and the practitioners within the policy making community in order to improve the quality and application Impact Assessment tools resulting in enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in decision making.

LIAISE combines the multi-disciplinary competences of a core group of well respected European research institutions with the consolidated experience developed from a wide range of relevant Sixth Framework Programme and Seventh Framework Programme projects. The following PEER institutes are involved: Alterra, CEH, DCE, SYKE and UFZ.


The mission or the overarching objective of LIAISE is to contribute to the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy by bridging the gaps between science, policy making and implementation, with academically-grounded approaches to Impact Assessment. To do this it has identified the three strategic goals mentioned below.


The LIAISE strategic goals are:

1. A virtual facility called the ‘shared Impact Assessment toolbox’. A durable and flexible infrastructure on a dedicated web platform providing access to the most up to date and relevant Impact Assessment tools together with help desk facilities.

2. A continuously updated ‘shared research agenda’ on Impact Assessment issues identifying needs, gaps and the application of new techniques and technologies. As well as engaging scientists and practitioners actively involved in Impact Assessment, this activity includes capacity building initiatives and information dissemination and training modules to spread the results of research activities to new Impact Assessment users and researchers.

3. A governance structure and a business plan that will aim to be inclusive to all parties with an interest in developing standards of excellence in Impact Assessment. It will ensure the Impact Assessment toolbox is durable with a long term future well beyond Seventh Framework Programme funding.


In its first year of the project the focus was on the following activities:

  • Research on user-needs
  • The development of a science-policy interface on Impact Assessment.
  • The design of the Impact Assessment toolbox (front- and back office).
  • The ‘mapping’ of existing Impact Assessment research projects and research groups.
  • The design of Impact Assessment test cases

The development of the network of excellence LIAISE has been met with considerable interest among officials in the European Commission and beyond. Information about the main achievements can be found in:


Funding Organisation

The European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme, theme: People

Project leader

Ir. J.J.F (Jan-Erik) Wien

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