Promoting the socio-economic impact of research – the role of funding practices

Despite growing emphasis on the generation of socio-economic impact of public research, our understanding of how research funders seek to stimulate socio-economic impact, and how different funding approaches influence the nature of the research is limited. Given that funding systems are central in defining the scope, content and direction of public research, a detailed understanding of this factor is vital. 

The overall aim of the project is to explore how and to which extent funding arrangements aimed at increasing socio-economic impact influence the nature and outcomes of public research activities. This will be done in a multilevel comparative design with two selected research fields within three countries. The project will here explore links between funders’ focus and requirements in relation to the wider impact of research, and examine through in-depth case studies how funding promotes socio-economic impact.

  • WP1 targets the macro-level with the aim to generate insight into how and to what degree research funding bodies seek to increase the socio-economic impact of research. Particular attention will be devoted to mission-oriented funding instruments, as they support research within politically prioritized areas and require researchers to actively pursue socio-economic impacts.
  • WP2 subsequently targets the meso-level through 18 in-depth case studies of research groups.  The case studies will generate insight into the extent to which and how the socio-economic impact of the group’s research have been influenced by funding arrangements.

The project as a whole will thus produce generalizable insights into the design and implementation of funding instruments that foster value-adding efforts to increase the socio-economic impact of research, as opposed to just stimulating compliance or strategic behavior with no or only symbolic effect.