Impact evaluation at Node-level - getting it done

Building on the knowledge and experience gained during the piloting of the RI-PATHS approach, an ELIXIR-funded Staff Exchange project, and related work done elsewhere in ELIXIR, this Strategic Implementation Study aimed to increase capacity in impact evaluation across a set of national ELIXIR Nodes.

Led by three ELIXIR Nodes (Belgium, Norway and Portugal), and with support from the ELIXIR Hub, activities were undertaken in coordination with relevant work being done as part of the ELIXIR-CONVERGE project, and included:

A series of "Show and Tell" knowledge-exchange events was also run, e.g.:

  • scientific impact #1 by the ELIXIR Hub (slides)
  • industry impact by the ELIXIR Hub (slides)
  • case studies of ELIXIR Portugal (slides) and ELIXIR Norway (slides), both relating to using and developing impact assessment frameworks
  • scientific impact #2 by ELIXIR Greece: BIP! Scholar (slides) and the impact of bioinformatics tools in the literature (slides)
  • impact of communications activities by ELIXIR Switzerland (slides)
  • impact of international activities on national level by ELIXIR Finland (slides)
  • case studies and experience-sharing by ELIXIR Netherlands (slides; impact evidence for a funder; scientific impact; impact of a service)
  • case study of ELIXIR UK (slides; making impact videos)
  • case studies of ELIXIR Belgium (slides; outcome and impact indicators) and ELIXIR Italy (slides; scientific impact)
  • case studies of ELIXIR Portugal (slides; analysing qualitative data) and ELIXIR Hub (slides; measuring policy impact)

The application of the new skills and knowledge was implemented by the Nodes themselves, focused on their chosen case studies (or “impact challenge”), with mentoring from relevant experts (impact, innovation and industry, communications, funding and stakeholders). This mentoring took the form of ad-hoc and informal requests for support and advice, along with more formal "support calls" where Nodes came with specific questions to ask to the experts, whom in turn provided dedicated feedback based on materials submitted ahead of the call. 

Case studies were chosen by the Nodes, based on their needs, as influenced by their national circumstances and particular sets of stakeholders. 

Outputs from this project are hyperlinked at the bottom this page, and include ELIXIR's Impact Toolkit (featured in the final webinar). The Toolkit collates a range of impact-related materials including training materials, worked examples, factsheets, lists of indicators, key published references, case studies, and slides. Its intended audience is operators, developers and managers wishing to demonstrate and communicate the performance, impact, and ultimately public value of their research infrastructure, to their particular set of funders and stakeholders.

The main outcome from this project was an increased capacity at Node level to demonstrate and communicate public value to funders and other key stakeholders, thereby contributing to long-term sustainability of Node-led activities. This ambition aligns directly with one of the 2020 recommendations of a High-Level Expert Group which assessed the progress of ESFRI (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures) and other world class research infrastructures towards implementation and long-term sustainability. In parallel to this, the project worked to reinforce an ELIXIR-wide ‘community of practice’ around impact evaluation.

For any question or query, contact (info [at] (subject: Impact%20evaluation%20at%20Node-level%20-%20getting%20it%20done, body: ). If you are part of ELIXIR, you can access all resources related to this Study (requires login), and much more (also requires login) as part of ELIXIR's Impact Focus Group.

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