The effects and impact of research refer to the ways in which research influences a wide variety of phenomena and trends in society. The effects and impact emerge as a result of the combined effect of research findings and other factors and generally manifest over the long term. This is a complex process.
The 2016 review of the state of scientific research in Finland included a separate analysis of the broader impact of research in society, beyond academia.
Aims in the Academy of Finland’s strategy
- quality of research
- effects and impact in the scientific community and beyond academia
- renewal of science and research
The aims of quality, impact and renewal all reinforce each other. The Academy of Finland encourages all researchers to consider the impact of their research and to work towards promoting that impact.
The complexity of impact and effects
Research can have many different kinds of effects and impact depending on the discipline and the research organisation. Society’s expectations of the impact of science are also different for different disciplines.
New information and expertise generated by research can, for instance:
- boost prosperity by providing solutions for streamlining business operations,
- aid and support policy-making by providing reliable background information,
- create and develop skills needed in working life,
- support individuals in spiritual growth and education.
In the long term, science and research also contribute to the development of society’s ultimate aims and our understanding of the best way to reach them.
Impact and effects of research projects
Researchers are encouraged to consider how their work is connected with wider issues, extending beyond academia, both when they apply for research funding and in reporting on the use of funding. It is important to ensure that both policy-makers and the general public are aware of the effects and impact of research and the potential it carries. Science advocacy requires comprehensive data on and insight into the purposes and methods of utilising research knowledge and know-how.