To ensure that programme, project and research results are used in practice, we encourage and facilitate project leaders in various ways, employing different activities and instruments for different groups (applicants, committees, clients, implementation specialists, programme managers and secretaries, etc.).
These include direct funding of dissemination or implementation activities, and the grouping of knowledge about approaches that do or do not work. We also employ implementation specialists to help achieve impact. Other implementation experts can be found outside ZonMw.
Frequently-used terms that overlap with implementation include valorisation and transit, so you may also see these terms being used in the programmes.
This page describes some of the instruments and activities we employ. How project leaders can take account of implementation and impact in every phase of their projects can be found in the information for project leaders.
Implementation and action programmes
ZonMw works with specific implementation programmes or rounds. Projects falling within these programmes or rounds are directed specifically towards the use of existing or new knowledge in practice, policy, education and/or further research.
Action and practice-oriented research
Action research always starts with a real-world problem, and approaches the study of this problem with a combination of knowledge development, learning and change. The research process strives to achieve practical change and to contribute towards the personal and professional development of those directly involved in the research.
In action research we work to combine:
- the development of scientific knowledge
- a learning process amongst those directly involved
- a practical change process or problem solution
Practice-oriented research is directed towards the development and application of knowledge that offers immediate practical solutions. It is not intended to develop, substantiate or elaborate theories. The subject under study must be closely linked to problems people face in practice, and must offer directly applicable solutions. This also demands close collaboration between practice, clients and/or family, and research.
Dissemination and Implementation Impulse
In certain programmes we work with extra funding for the implementation of project outcomes. We call this a Dissemination and Implementation Impulse (Verspreidings- en Implementatie Impuls, VIMP). The aim of this additional funding is to make the developed knowledge and innovations arising from a project more available to end users. VIMP funding is up to €50,000. ZonMw decides which projects may be considered, inviting the relevant project leaders to submit a funding application.
ZonMw makes knowledge vouchers available to promote the dissemination of good examples and the implementation of research-derived knowledge. The knowledge voucher enables applicants to hire an expert involved in a good example for implementation advice. Knowledge vouchers are made available through a funding call.
Budget Impact Analyse (BIA)
A Budget Impact Analysis (BIA) is an instrument that can be used to evaluate the financial consequences of a new care intervention that promises to contribute towards more sustainable and affordable healthcare. A BIA examines the effects of an intervention on healthcare costs from several perspectives, including those of healthcare insurers, hospitals and authorities.
A BIA is often carried out as part of a Health Technology Assessment (HTA), in which not only the costs but also the safety and effectiveness of a new intervention are evaluated. A BIA can, however, be carried out independently of an HTA, for instance to gain better insight into the financial feasibility of a new intervention.
ZonMw has developed a BIA guide and calculation tool to simplify the use of a BIA and to facilitate the field in better understanding the financial consequences of applying knowledge gained from efficiency research. The aim is also to further disseminate knowledge and to promote its practical implementation.
The ZonMw Pearl: additional appreciation
A Pearl is a prize. Of all the projects funded by ZonMw, there are always a few we want to spotlight because they exemplify what ZonMw stands for. They may feature successful collaboration between all relevant parties or research results that have a profound social or scientific impact. These projects are rewarded with a ZonMw Pearl.
Expertise and collaboration
In every phase of a programme or project we help applicants or project leaders work out how best to put their research outcomes into practice. We organise regular meetings, for instance, and an e-learning plan is under development. ZonMw is training internal staff as implementation specialists. Every ZonMw programme has at least one implementation specialist who can discuss things with you. You can also join the Netherlands Implementation Collaborative, of which ZonMw is a member. If you would like to talk to an implementation specialist, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Netherlands Implementation Collaborative (NIC)
The Netherlands Implementation Collaborative (NIC) is the ideal network for sharing knowledge on the effective implementation of research outcomes in care and healthcare. Different member organisations – including the Trimbos Institute, ZonMw, ZINL and Amsterdam UMC – work together to ensure implementation links between existing networks and research centres.
IWe promote implementation in collaboration with other bodies, including research funders (such as NWO, Health~Holland and the health funds) and with researchers and experts who are knowledgeable about implementation and impact. We were therefore one of the co-founders of the Netherlands Implementation Collaborative, and we also participate in the Impact Alliance. We also share expertise internationally, for example through Ensuring Value in Research (EVIR) and the European Implementation Collaborative (EIC).
Strengthening the implementation infrastructure
ZonMw is helping to strengthen the networks and other infrastructures that could promote implementation. These are structures in which different stakeholders meet each other to share questions, knowledge and insights. We are also examining the functioning of a variety of different infrastructures, for example to determine which can best be employed and when.
Research on Research project
Together, LUMC and ZonMw carried out a Research on Research project in the period 2020-2022 into collaborations within knowledge infrastructures such as academic workplaces, learning networks and living labs. Interactions between researchers and parties from policy, practice and/or education are central to this. ZonMw finances such participatory knowledge infrastructures to achieve impact in terms of knowledge utilization and would like to know how the effectiveness of the collaborations can be promoted. With the recommendations from the final report, ZonMw will set to work to allow participatory knowledge infrastructures to flourish.
Examples of such forms of implementation infrastructure with which ZonMw is involved are:
- Kennispleinen: digital channels through which knowledge, products and experiences are shared at national level.
- Academic workplaces: academic workplaces ensure improved cooperation between practice, science, policy and education. They allow an institute of higher education to work with practical organisations to turn real-world issues into research and vice versa.
- Consortia: consortia stimulate the long-term exchange of knowledge. Participants may also undertake a mutual obligation to work jointly on the solution of a problem.
- Innovation network
We combine new insights from different research studies and projects, all of which yield new knowledge separately. We perform a ‘knowledge synthesis’ to organise and interlink this new knowledge, and to identify its significance in the contexts in which it will be used. A knowledge synthesis is a useful approach to valorisation in that it takes initial stock of frameworks both for theory-based research and for practice-led interventions, thereby generating new research questions.
We work together with researchers, practitioners and policy makers to carry out a knowledge synthesis, and have developed a manual to support this process.
Knowledge synthesis: a quide (only available in dutch)
Vision, development, research and evaluation
ZonMw’s implementation specialists have developed a vision for implementation and impact and its execution. This vision is laid out in the ZonMw Impact Assessment Framework (ZIAF), which guides ZonMw in directing impact and implementation. The ZIAF is a supplement to the incentives described in impact and implementation in project applications.
Evaluation: has impact been achieved?
Every ZonMw programme is subject to evaluation, and an important question in this process is the degree to which the programme concerned has achieved impact. Assessors make use of the ZonMw Impact Assessment Framework as a starting point for this evaluation. The ZIAF instruction document contains more information, including references to the rationale of the Framework itself. We also identify what impact we have achieved through our funding.
Instruction document ZonMw Impact Assessment Framwork (only available in dutch)
In all its funded programmes ZonMw focuses on the criteria of relevance and quality. These criteria form the basis for making an impact. We call this the promotion of ‘responsible’ research practice. ZonMw’s assessment framework for responsible programming (see the table below) is an aid to assessing social relevance and quality, using appropriate indicators. Indicators with an asterisk (*) are forms of productive interactions.