Outcome measurement is highly complex because meaningful indicators are very difficult to develop and evaluation models are not standardized. In addition, research results do not always achieve a direct effect, but often demonstrate their relevance indirectly and with a time lag. Nevertheless, it is important to make the results measurable in order to demonstrate the relevance and legitimacy of such projects and to take into account the views of all stakeholders involved.
Projects between universities and societal actors have the potential to address societal problems that are not addressed by market-based actors due to a lack of economic returns. Therefore, these projects are often funded by taxpayers' money which in turn leads to the fact that the societal relevance of the results of such projects should be demonstrated in order to legitimize them. However, meaningful indicators that measure societal relevance are very difficult to develop (Kurzhals et al., 2021, in reference to Bornmann, 2012). Molas-Gallart, Tang and Morrow (2000) attribute this difficulty in part to the fact that research findings do not always reveal direct relevance, but rather have an indirect and time-delayed impact on society. Moreover, it is not necessarily given that the effects are always one-to-one attributable to the measures of the project, but can also be caused by other factors (Kurzhals et al., 2021).