Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

Proving that research pays off

This was the topic of a major conference on research and innovation policy recently hosted by the Research Council of Norway.

Norway Collaboration holds the answer

Among the featured speakers was Dr Julia Lane, Programme Director of the Science of Science and Innovation Policy at the US National Science Foundation.

“We must be able to tell taxpayers and the authorities why it benefits society to invest in research,” was her premise. It is a demanding task involving many factors and long time frames.

“The key to creating better systems of measurement lies in cooperating across national borders, institutions and research communities,” she asserted.

Electronic tracking and analysis

Dr Lane founded the STAR METRICS programme (Science and Technology for America’s Reinvestment: Measuring the Effects of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science), a partnership between US authorities and research institutions designed to document the outcomes of R&D investment in key areas of society.

Photo: Nils Ragnar Løvhaug (Photo: Nils Ragnar Løvhaug)

Research results often show up in places other than where the original investment took place. To track the effects, Dr Lane established a system to follow the people who carry out research and identify outcomes wherever and whenever they may occur.

“We already have lots of data, generated by electronic tracking via the Internet. New ways of structuring and analysing these data are making us more efficient and ensuring higher quality than with manual reporting.”

Knowledge can lose its value

Bronwyn Hall, professor at both Maastricht University and the University of California, Berkeley, is well known as a nestor in studies on financial impacts of R&D investments. She spoke about various methodologies and the challenges they pose when trying to establish causal relationships between research investment and returns.

“Returns are measured in more than just monetary terms, and the amount of time needed before one can observe the returns of an investment varies,” said Professor Hall. “What’s more, research results as elements in a knowledge base can lose their value over time. It is very difficult to determine how great this depreciation is and how quickly it occurs.”

Social impact exceeds private profit

The impact of innovation is also difficult to gauge since it reaches beyond the individual companies involved. Innovations may benefit consumers, for example, by way of improved products and lower prices. Also, there are other elements besides research that play a role in outcomes and value creation.
Analysis indicates that returns on research investment are generally positive, and that the benefits to society are greater than the profits for private investors.

Next-generation bibliometrics

Professor Robert Tijssen of Leiden University discussed advances in the field of bibliometrics. National and international cooperation patterns are gaining importance, and quantitative and qualitative data are increasingly being combined; the trend is away from static and toward more dynamic analyses.

Books In addition, the focus is in transition from investment components and results to links and effects – making bibliometrics more relevant as a tool for funders and other decision-makers.

Professor Tijssen also spoke about social media (such as CiteULike, total-Impact, blogs and Twitter) as potential suppliers of indicators of social impacts. The pilot surveys of the Higher Education Funding Council for England that identify social impacts in a variety of areas are another good example of the methods being developed. The surveys consist of universities submitting documentation of the social impacts of specific research activities.

“Is it feasible to combine individual studies with bibliometric ‘facts’?” asked Professor Tijssen, reminding the audience that behind every bibliometric “fact” is a history that must be considered when assessing the significance of indicators and the value of a research activity.

High level of activity at Research Council

The Research Council of Norway has several research programmes designed to contribute to knowledge development for research and innovation policy:

 

Related news

Latest news

Over 45,000 businesses risk EU energy fines for non-compliance

The previous compliance date of 5th December 2015,

“An Incredibly reliable net cleaning system”

Our predator nets are prone to fouling with scallops and mussels,

“An Incredibly reliable net cleaning system”

Good knowledge enables the customer to get the most out of the product. 

DNV GL initiates energy storage standard for Australia

DNV GL will lead the project and prepare a draft proposal for the standard,

Kvale acts for foreign ship owners in a direct action case

The case is against a Norwegian P&I underwriter and the alleged tortfeasor following a collision in the Singapore strait. Recently, the Supreme Court rendered a verdict on the issue of whether Norwegian courts hav...

Kvale recognized by IAM Patent 1000 2018

Kvale's IP-team receives great review from IAM Patent 1000 "The world's leading patent professionals 2018". 

Positive winds at the SeaWork International trade fair

- This is the place to be,

DNV GL and Brodosplit sign class contract for Quark polar expedition vessel

Quark has a long history of civilian polar exploration.

Elkem sustainability magazine 2017 and GRI report for 2017 is ready

Corporate social responsibility is one of the building...