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.
An evaluation of four SRC programmes was carried out between 2022 and 2023, coordinated by the Division of Strategic Research:
- Equality in Society, EQUA (2015–2021)
- A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland, PIHI (2015–2021)
- Disruptive Technologies and Changing Institutions, TECH (2015–2021)
- Changing Society and Active Citizenship, CITIZEN (2017–2021).
Explore the evaluation reports:
- Equality in Society, EQUA (2015–2021). Evaluation of the strategic research programme. (pdf)
- A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland, PIHI (2015–2021). Evaluation of the strategic research programme. (pdf)
- Disruptive Technologies and Changing Institutions, TECH (2015–2021). Evaluation of the strategic research programme. (pdf)
- Changing Society and Active Citizenship, CITIZEN (2017–2021). Evaluation of the strategic research programme. (pdf)
How the evaluation was implemented
The evaluation of the EQUA, PIHI, TECH and CITIZEN programmes was carried out by four programme-specific expert panels, which included foreign and Finnish experts from the thematic areas of the programmes.
Evaluation by expert panels
Each of the four expert panels was tasked with assessing the implementation, results and impact of the programme against the following criteria:
- promoting high-quality, multidisciplinary research on the problems and needs in the programme’s domain
- creating concrete steps towards tackling those problems and needs in Finnish society
- strengthening research and stakeholder communities in the programme’s domain.
Based on their findings, the panels also drew lessons and suggestions for the future development of SRC programmes.
The Division of Strategic Research provided each of the expert panels with comprehensive documentation on the background, results and outcomes of the programme being evaluated. The evaluation material also included the results of two surveys, one addressed to project representatives and the other to the main interaction partners of the projects. In addition, each panel interviewed key players in the programme. Summaries of the material for each programme evaluation have been published as appendices to the evaluation reports.
The programmes that ended in 2021 are described in the drop-down menu on the page Programmes and projects.
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.
- Katri Huutoniemi, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 195
- Katri Mäkinen-Rostedt, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 181
Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi.