A closer look at OECD’s methodology for assessing the scientific and socio-economic impact of research infrastructures

A closer look at OECD’s methodology for assessing the scientific and socio-economic impact of research infrastructures [Jun/2020]

In March 2019, the OECD published a “Framework for assessing the scientific and socio-economic impact of Research Infrastructures”, that aims to provide funding organisations/agencies, decision-makers and Research Infrastructure (RI) managers with a generic and versatile tool, based on current community practices, to evaluate the achievement of scientific and socio-economic objectives as well as their impact, in a realistic way.

This framework includes a list of Core Impact Indicators which can be used for most RIs whatever their type, discipline or life cycle phase, and which were identified through an in-depth survey of existing practices among RI managements and RI stakeholders (local and national authorities, funding organisations/agencies, RI hosts).

Research Infrastructures represent an increasingly large share of research investment. Policy-makers, funding agencies and RI managers are more and more expected to adopt systematic and transparent procedures for making key decisions about implementing new projects or investing in existing ones. All of the above-listed stakeholders hence have a significant interest in the impact assessment of research infrastructures.


Two indicator categories are included in the framework:

-          Core Impact Indicators: A restricted list of indicators which can provide a general picture of the socio-economic impact of an RI at a given time.

-          A more complete list of standard indicators: These indicators are representative of what is traditionally used by the RIs surveyed during this work and have been partially reworked to be more standard and generic.

The indicators are determined as a means to evaluate RI impacts.

Although RIs are designed to support research needs, their impact goes beyond the production of scientific results and knowledge. Their conception, construction and operation can involve and require unique technological developments, data management systems and highly-skilled staff. RIs offer opportunities for innovation and market development, can attract investments and contribute broadly to socio-economic development. In some cases they can constitute a focal point for the development of an innovation ecosystem.


This report was co-written in March 2019 by the GSF Expert Group Chair, GSF consultants and the GSF secretariat, with extensive input from the Expert Group members. To access the document and more detailed information, please click here.

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