The project enhances the quality of Colombian, Cuban and Panamanian universities by transferring the EU expertise to design and implement a quality referential (framework, tools & methodology) based on impact assessment. This tool complements the actual QA systems currently limited to quality of teaching and research. This fosters an evolution towards an impact-driven culture in the institutions which improves the quality and relevance of the services that they provide to their community.

The project results in an impact QA system, inspired by EU experience and customized to the 3 national contexts. The HEIs are capacitated for applying the quality referential at the institutional level (impact is measured and included in strategic development) and at the functional level (more activities/projects are targeted at local communities and their impact is maximized). The fitness for purpose and practical relevance of this QA system are verified by its implementation in 11 universities, under the mentorship of European experts.

Results and best practices are compiled in two publications series: one for senior university management explaining how to measure, monitor and increase impact and collecting best practices. The second series, for faculty and specialist staff, provides guidelines and inspiration on how to maximize impact of universities activities for local environment and illustrates it it by a case studies compendium.

Main findings and recommendations are shared with the 3 countries stakeholders during the project conference to build awareness and stimulate replication.

The project promotes cultural changes in the universities who understand better how to answer the needs of their environment how to engage into innovative and more impactful activities. Regional & local communities benefit from the concrete results of the pilot projects and tighten their links with HEIs open to the local environment.

 How IMPALA  addresses aims and objectives 

The project allows universities to understand evaluate their impact (all tangible and intangible benefits that a they bring to the local environment, such as educational and intellectual outcome, financial, business development, societal and visibility benefits) and integrate it in their QA system.

They are more open and reactive to their environment needs, which improves the relevance and quality of the services they provide to their community, as part of their third mission.

IMPALA Specific objectives

Design  and implement a quality referential (framework, tools, methodology) for impact assessment, complementing the current universities QA mechanisms in Colombia, Cuba & Panama. EU experience in the domain is transferred to the target countries who develop the instrument and customize it to their national context.

Provide the HEIs with the capacities to apply this quality referential to their situation. All staff categories are trained and mentored during on-site implementation. Top management assesses the impact of their institution and adapt their strategic planning. Faculty and specialists engage in high impact activities targeted at the community.

Improve quality and relevance of the services to the community as part of the university mission. Reference material, guidelines, case studies and best practices are published and shared. Universities use these material to improve their responsiveness to the demands of the environment. Ministries and association stimulate.

IMPALA achievements

The proposal enriches the current QA systems (limited to teaching & research) by incorporating impact. The assessment tool and set of recommendations allows the evaluation and improvement of all activities, in particular the services universities provide to the community. Better realizing their contribution to the society, universities modernize their strategic planning, adapt their organization and working structure, to provide better services to meet the demand of their environment.