Research and the Knowledge-based Society: Measuring the Link

Thursday, 20 May 2004

Considerable national resources have been invested in research, particularly in science and technology, in recent years, over €2 billion for the period of the current National Development Plan: but how do we evaluate the impacts of that research, on the economy and on society more generally? An international one-day conference on Research and the Knowledge-based Society will examine this important issue at NUI Galway, on Monday, 24 May 2004.

The Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation highlighted the need "to disseminate information on, and the results of, indicators and evaluation techniques through publications and conferences" in its Statement 'Measuring the Contribution of Research' (2002). This conference is an essential implementation of this key ICSTI recommendation.

Ireland will critically depend on the application of research and innovation in industry for continuing future success and the economic stability and growth that will benefit society. Research is essential for a high quality education system. Good evaluation is critical in balanced policy making, helping to optimise the use of taxpayers money. Governments and citizens naturally wish to see realistic returns on the public funds invested in research. The research community can benefit greatly from focussed evaluation of their own work, and the opportunity continually to learn from good practice.

To explore these issues, the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI) and Forfás, in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (NUI Galway), are bringing together policy makers, researchers, technologists, industrialists, fund managers and professional evaluators for this one-day European conference to:

  • Engage the research community in debate about evaluation
  • Inform the research community about international practice amongst evaluators and
  • Increase the awareness of policy makers about research evaluation and indicators.

Dr Edward M Walsh, Chairman of Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, stated that "Global competition in the knowledge age is tougher than ever before. If Ireland is to build on its past success and prosper in the emerging knowledge age it must demonstrate a strong research competence. The recent major commitment of public funding to build such competence is a most important initiative and if Ireland is to fully benefit from the investment, appropriate systems that measure and evaluate the outcomes must be put in place".

Speakers at the conference include the Chairperson of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Don Thornhill, and the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Bill Harris as well as a range of top international research evaluation experts. Conference details at: http://www.forfas.ie/icsti/mayevent.html

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