On 11 July, the RI-PATHS project manager Elina Griniece took part in a panel discussion on assessing and optimising the societal value of research infrastructures (RIs). This discussion took place during EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2018 in Toulouse, France. While the most important economic benefits of research infrastructures are medium- to long-term and are often hard to measure and quantify, there are a number of tools and indicators that can be readily used to scope these direct and indirect impacts. The situation is, however, far more challenging with regards to societal impacts. These are very often qualitative and currently do not lend well to comparability (although this is a developing field of research). The panel discussion investigated the possible tools and methodologies to better assess the societal impacts of RIs drawing upon the work and experience of the OECD Global Science Forum Expert Group on Socio-economic Impact Assessment of RIs (SEIRI) and RI-PATHS project. The session also included a case of the Southern African Large Telescope’s (SALT) Collateral Benefits Programme that demonstrates an important impact on regional development.