Research ROI

The impact of academic research

Volume 3, Issue 1 – 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

The impact of academic research on our well-being, industry and planet is unquestionable; the ability to quantify that impact is the greater challenge. The authors within this issue explore this challenge in terms of research metrics, policy and strategy. The idea of return on investment in academia is not only here to stay, it is becoming more integral to research strategy and funding.

Improving research in Spanish public universities: Impact and opportunities

By Francesc Xavier Grau Vidal, University Rovira i Virgili

The recent large reduction in public finance in Spain is affecting all public services, including the pillars of our society: the health service, social cohesion, and education. In the case of universities, the effect is twofold. In addition to negatively influencing their role as providers of higher education, the reduction in public finance is harming our universities’ ability to generate knowledge and their power to bring about cultural, social and economic change.

Innovation and interconnection within ROI

Interview with Yuko Harayama, Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office of Japan

In Japan, we realized we needed to take advantage of our existing universities’ knowledge-creation capacity and transform that into industry. However is there a danger in moving away from basic research? The serendipitous use of created knowledge is a key component of innovation, but the pressure from policy makers is to explain the impact up front, which cannot be done in such a scenario.

The unfolding science of science and innovation policy

By Joshua Rosenbloom, National Science Foundation

Measuring the economic benefits of investments in R&D requires tracing a complex web of influences over periods of several decades. A community of practice centered on key issues in science and innovation policy has emerged in support of drivers to place policy decisions on a sound scientific basis. Only through a sustained and systematic study of this subject will we improve our understanding of the key issues that motivated the call for a Science of Science Policy.

Evidence-based decision making in academic research: The “Snowball” effect

By John T. Green, Fellow of Queens’ College, University of Cambridge

John Green's interest in research metrics grew in concert with the UK’s downturn in higher education funding, when it became increasingly apparent that the academic research enterprise required the application of business principles in order to survive and thrive. He later became involved in developing Snowball Metrics, an agreed set of robust and consistent definitions for tried-and tested metrics across the entire spectrum of research activities.