Over the last decade, the EFIS Centre team has built up an in-depth experience on the topic of socio-economic impact assessment of research infrastructures. Our staff have participated in numerous studies covering this focus area both for individual infrastructures as well as at strategic policy-making level. For example, the methodology developed in “The Guide to Evaluating and Monitoring Socio-Economic Impact of Investment in Research Infrastructures” is cited on several occasions in OECD reports. Building on this guidance, in 2017-2018, Dr Jelena Angelis advised the Lithuanian Government Strategic Analysis Centre on the development of methodology for the evaluation of research infrastructure development (incl. impacts).
Through various activities we have also developed a good understanding of the policies around the development of RI roadmaps nationally and across Europe. The question of ‘impacts’ and ‘performance’ of research infrastructures is becoming more and more important. In 2019, our team member Alasdair Reid was a member of the ESFRI working group on key performance indicators for RIs. In parallel, Dr Jelena Angelis was a member of the European Commission’s DG RTD’s High Level Expert Group assessing the progress of ESFRI and Other World Class Research Infrastructures towards implementation and long-term sustainability.
Building on all this experience, EFIS Centre (as coordinator) has recently concluded a 30 month long Horizon 2020 project RI-PATHS: Research Infrastructure ImPact Assessment PaTHwayS (https://ri-paths.eu/). The aim of the RI-PATHS project was to develop a comprehensive framework describing the socio-economic impact of Research Infrastructures and their related financial investments. The framework was developed in a modular manner adapting it to a broad range of scientific domains and types of Research Infrastructures. The project outcomes are expected to contribute to a common approach at international level to assessing the impact and facilitate future decisions on investments in research infrastructures by funding agencies and other stakeholders.
We are pleased to share the final results of this project with the global community of stakeholders involved in developing, funding and operating research infrastructures . Please visit the Research Infrastructures’ Impact Assessment Toolkit site and download our Guidebook here: https://ri-paths-tool.eu/en
The Toolkit includes descriptions of the identified key impact pathways on how Research Infrastructure activities lead to various socio-economic impacts. It also includes guidance on the most common impact areas and draws together examples of suitable monitoring and reporting tools, as well as methodologies for impact measurement. There is an option to browse, search and retrieve all frequently used indicators per main impact areas and types of indicators.
The Guidebook is developed to accompany the Toolkit users on their journey of socio-economic impact assessment. It gives a glimpse into the topic of impact assessment, presents useful examples and helps RI managers, policy makers and funders make important strategic choices. A glossary of terms and their definitions is added to support user learning and promote the use of a shared language across the RI stakeholder community.