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European Research Council EU/US Workshop on Peer Review: Assessing broader impact in research grant applications Bruxelles, 13 December 2010 Helga Nowotny.

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Presentation on theme: "European Research Council EU/US Workshop on Peer Review: Assessing broader impact in research grant applications Bruxelles, 13 December 2010 Helga Nowotny."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Research Council EU/US Workshop on Peer Review: Assessing broader impact in research grant applications Bruxelles, 13 December 2010 Helga Nowotny Which Impact? Anticipated and unanticipated consequences

2 European Research Council The broader context/framing investment into STI seen as motor of economic growth reworking the concept of intellectual value and use of academic knowledge production impact as metrics of allocating, redistributing and regulating research funding (e.g. RAE in the UK will shift to metrics- based REF).

3 European Research Council Global investment in R&D in absolute and relative terms, 2007 (for selected countries and regions) Source: UNU-MERIT based on data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and World Bank

4 European Research Council BERD/GDP ratio for selceted countries (%) Source: UNU-MERIT based on data from UNESCO Institute of Statistics

5 European Research Council Impact: what to look for and what to measure impact definition and measurement produces a culture of anticipation may produce perverse effects and gaming at grant proposal level: following the script or leaving room for improvisation A culture of anticipation produces anticipated and unanticipated outcomes/ consequences

6 European Research Council Anticipated outcomes/consequences scientific value: publications as contributions to the world pool of open knowledge transmission of academic knowledge production to outside world economic benefits: return of the linear model in guise of innovation chain? training of people in relevant skills and knowledge wider educational impact/ knowledge society

7 European Research Council The culture of anticipation – part 1 Culture of anticipation produces anticipated and unanticipated consequences, how? funding agencies as principal agent between government and researchers information asymmetry and inherent uncertainty of research process delicate balance: too much and too little pressure may lead to underperformance

8 European Research Council The culture of anticipation – part 2 impact as product and producer of practices of anticipation enacted as consequential culture of compliance, esp.among younger researchers (streamlining of careers etc.) practice of anticipation may become an end in itself institutional support reinforces knowledge policy narratives (how the world is) and defines/restricts space for action

9 European Research Council Impact of frontier research: the example of the ERC Ideas programme leads to first time ever competition at EU level: EU-added value ERC grants: high reputational gains institutional impact on universities and research institutions raising standards of national funding agencies

10 European Research Council Primary impact: setting up European charimanship ERC establishes the first European championship in frontier research fair and open competition in championship excellence only best researchers compete, reputational gains accrue to individuals, host institutions and countries

11 European Research Council Secondary impact of European championship in excellence only push for continued modernization of (continental) European universities, e.g. greater autonomy, administration, services push for more internationalization of universities (UK and CH host institutions as winners) identification, recognition and cultivation of younger researchers earlier scientific independence, portability of grants

12 European Research Council Secondary impact of championship excellence only, ctd. excellence training in knowledge and skills as boost for next generation 1400 ERC grantees employ at least 2 post-docs and 2 Ph.D. students each with high degree of international mobility genuine European funding and evaluation culture in the making (raising standards, changing practice of recognizing excellence, keep it simple) complementing national funding agencies

13 European Research Council Scientific specialization of the Triad, BRIC countries and Africa, 2008 Source: UNU-MERIT based on data from Thomson Reuters (Scientific) Inc. Web of Science (Science Citation Index Expanded)

14 European Research Council Conclusion: Impact as making a difference ERC continues to make a difference through primary and secondary impact belief systems have real consequences, in this case belief in excellence only broader impact in research grant applications: make sure what you target as primary goal (anticipated impact) allow for secondary impact (unanticipated impact)


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