Developing a research information system for three South African agricultural industries: Learning about the impact of funded research
Stellenbosch University. Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
Organisations that fund research and those that perform research are subject to the same accountability pressure: to provide evidence of value-for-money, often expressed as impact, in relation to the research investments made. Methods to assess the scientific impact and contribution of research, although not perfect, are well-established. It includes counting the scientific outputs of research and tracking the numbers of citations to publications in the scientific literature. Measures to assess the broader impact of research, especially outside the university, are however very much still in their infant shoes. It is against this background that the study proposes to combine, in a research information and management system (called RIS-Agric), select elements of four evolving but already state-of-the-art approaches for measuring the broader impact of research. [Broader impact, given the context of the proposed study, is probably best captured by the notion of industry impact.] RIS-Agric will be developed for three South African funders of agricultural research: Winetech, Hortgro, and CRI. It will allow these funders to make informed decisions about the potential and real impacts of their research (beyond scientific impact), with a focus on learning about the mechanisms or aspects of a project that produce broader impact.
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