The Strategic Research Council (SRC) is responsible for assessing the impact of the research it has funded. The evaluation is implemented at programme level. The aim of the evaluation is to assess the current or prospective scientific and societal impact of the programmes and to produce information to support the development of strategic research programmes.
The evaluation focuses on the targeting, processes, outputs and outcomes of the research and interaction activities funded under each programme, as well as their observed or anticipated effects. The review takes into account the specific characteristics of the programmes and projects. In assessing the scientific impact, particular attention is paid to the effectiveness of multidisciplinary work and the ability to reinvigorate research to address the challenges identified in the programme description.
The principles of programme evaluation are available in full in the funding principles of the SRC.
The first programme evaluation coordinated by the Division of Strategic Research was the evaluation of the four programmes that ran in 2016–2019. The four programmes were:
- Urbanising Society (URBAN)
- Health, Welfare and Lifestyles (HEALTH)
- Skilled Employees – Successful Labour Market (WORK)
- Security in a Networked World (SECURITY).
Read more about the evaluations:
- SRC programmes 2016–2019: Self-evaluation reports (pdf, in Finnish)
- SRC programmes 2016–2019: Societal impact (pdf, in Finnish)
- Strategic Research Programmes 2016–2019: Ex-post evaluation of scientific activities (pdf)
See the press releases:
- Evaluation finds strategic research funding has brought added value to research and society (28 January 2021)
- Strategisen tutkimuksen ohjelmien yhteiskunnallista vaikuttavuutta arvioitiin ensimmäistä kertaa (3 February 2021)
- Evaluation report: multidisciplinary strategic research supports society as a whole (14 June 2021)
How the evaluation was implemented
The SRC programmes HEALTH, SECURITY, URBAN and WORK were evaluated in three stages during 2020–2021.
The aim of the first stage of the programme evaluation was to form a shared understanding between the programme’s actors of the activities. The self-assessment was carried out as programme-specific discussions, resulting in an analysis of the activities of each programme. The discussions addressed all objectives of the programme evaluation. The memorandums from the discussions served as material for the next stage of the evaluation.
Evaluation of societal impact
At the second stage, the aim was to understand the societal dimension of SRC programmes. The assessment of societal impact was approached in the IOOI (Input-Output-Outcome-Impact) impact chain framework. Attention was paid to a wide range of impact chains, in particular to the interaction within stakeholder networks and changes in them. The societal impact was assessed by an external evaluator, Gaia-Consulting Oy.
Evaluation of scientific activities
The third stage of the programme evaluation assessed the multidisciplinary nature of the programmes, their scientific quality and the links between research and societal impact. The evaluation utilised a wide range of material. The assessment was carried out by an external panel of experts.
Read more about programme evaluation in the blog posts by Jyrki Hakapää and Kyösti Husso from the Division of Strategic Research:
- Understanding the impact of strategic research (22 August 2019)
- Towards a comprehensive evaluation of research and interaction (7 April 2020)
- Strategic research: What does it do? (21 September 2021)
The programmes that ended in 2019 are available in the drop-down menu on the page Programmes and projects.
Four SRC programmes will be evaluated in 2022–2023:
- A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland, PIHI (2015-2021)
- Equality in Society, EQUA (2015–2021)
- Disruptive Technologies and Changing Institutions, TECH (2015–2021)
- Changing Society and Active Citizenship, CITIZEN (2017–2021).
How the evaluation will be implemented
The evaluation includes a self-assessment, an external evaluation and a summary and conclusions of the programme-specific evaluation results.
The self-assessment by the programmes consists of surveys targeted at programme actors and programme-specific discussion sessions. The surveys will be directed at the main stakeholders and interaction partners of the projects and programme directors as well as at projects funded under the programmes. The programme-specific discussions will address the significance and impacts of the programme in the light of the survey results, for example. The self-assessment will produce information to support the external evaluation.
The external evaluation of the programmes will be carried out by programme-specific expert panels, which will be compiled of national and foreign experts in the theme of the programme. The expert panel is tasked with assessing both the scientific and societal impact of the programme.
Summary and conclusions
Expert panels will discuss the evaluation results and findings together with the SRC. The discussion will highlight the main results of the programme-specific evaluations and the means to utilise them in the development of SRC programmes.
The programmes that ended in 2021 are available in the drop-down menu on the page Programmes and projects.
- Jyrki Hakapää, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 020
- Katri Huutoniemi, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 195
Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi.