Towards a Nordic Perspective on the Public Value of Social Sciences and Humanities Research (NORSSHVALUE)
There is a huge interest in policy-makers, university managers and academics regarding how investments in science create benefits for the wider societies that fund the underpinning research. Early understandings of these benefits were often extremely reductive, focusing on the direct financial and economic benefits that research brought, such as creating new companies, or licenses and spin-outs. More recently, there has been a recognition that this narrow notion of value needs broadening in order to effectively capture the public value created by research in the social sciences and humanities.
Much of this work has been undertaken in the UK and the Netherlands, and has undoubtedly been driven by the needs of their respective evaluation systems, the Research Excellence Framework in the UK and the Standard Evaluation Protocol in the Netherlands. These tools reflect both the distinctive needs of policy-makers in these countries as well as the dynamics of science systems and the societal context. There have been various efforts to introduce these policy approaches into various Nordic contexts without a consideration of whether they fit with policy-maker needs, and the dynamics of science systems and societal contexts. In the NORSSHVALUE network, we seek to develop an understanding of the public value of social sciences and humanities research that captures the distinctiveness of Nordic societal contexts.
The main activity we will be undertaking in NORSSHVALUE is to organise three seminars in 2019 and 2020, bringing together experts in understanding and evaluating public value of research in the Nordic and wider international comparative contexts. We seek to address 6 research questions in the life of our network:
- How do Nordic local impact contexts vary from those in paradigmatic impact contexts?
- How can the societal impact of SSH research be conceptualised to better incorporate features of Nordic impact contexts with particular emphasis on the gender dimension?
- Are there other local impact contexts outside America, the UK and Netherlands which could meaningfully augment Nordic perspectives on SSH societal impact?
- How do Nordic science policy-makers seek to use the concept of SSH research impact as a distinctive tool?
- What expectations do Nordic civil society representative organisations have towards SSH researchers using their knowledge to create societal impact?
- What can non-Nordic policy-makers and science policy researchers more generally and learn from a Nordic perspective on SSH impact?
The NORSSHVALUE network is made possible by support from the Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). NOS-HS is a cooperation between the research councils in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden responsible for research within the Humanities and Social Sciences. NOS-HS aims to enhance the exchange of information between the Nordic research councils. The committee also supports collaboration between Nordic researchers by funding Nordic exploratory workshops.
The European COST Network ENRESSH (The European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences and Humanities) is advertising for a set of short term scientific missions. More information is available in this document:
The Programme for the Reykjavik seminar has now been published and is reproduced below!
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Impact in the Nordic context: Understanding the contemporary state-of-the-art in international comparative perspective
NORSSHVALUE Working Group seminar, 20th-21st August 2019, School of Humanities, Háskóli Íslands, Reykjavik, Iceland.
8:45 Registration and coffee
Session one: OPENING KEYNOTE
- 9:00 Paul Benneworth (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway): Introduction to the NORSSHVALUE seminar series
- 9:30:Claire Donovan (Brunel University, UK): Assessing the Broader Impacts of Publicly-funded Research
- 10.00 Q&A
Coffee break: 10:15-10:45
Session two: Policy Overview
- 10:45 Asdis Jonsdottir: (Ministry of Science, Education and Culture, Iceland) Science Policy and Impact at a time of budgetary reform – the case of Iceland
- 11:15 Henrik Halker: (Aalborg University, Denmark) Danish universities and the changing discourse and practices of SSH impact
- 11:45 Marta Wróblewska: (National Centre for Research & Development, Poland) Assessing impact in Poland
- 12:15 Roundtable Discussion
- 13:30 Gunnar Sivertsen (NIFU, Norway) Normal versus extraordinary impact. Understanding and evaluating societal relations in the social sciences and humanities
- 14:00 Reetta Muhonen (Tampere University, Finland) & Silje Maria Tellmann (University of Oslo, Norway): Reflecting the limits of reporting societal impact for research evaluation purposes – cases of UK and Norway
- 14:30 Guðrún Nordal (Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies & The University of Iceland, Iceland) The question of impact from the Nordic perspective
Session four: Policy Roundtable:
This Roundtable will seek to answer four important
- how should SSH researchers be
creating value for Nordic societies?
- what kinds of value for Nordic
society can SSH research create?
- what is done well & not so
well in terms of impact creation in the Nordic region at the moment? and
- what can policy makers do to
support that (whether at the Ministry, Research Council, Rector or Dean level)?
16:30-17:00 Closing remarks
- 9:00 Marta Wróblewska (National Centre for R&D, Poland): Assessing Impact in Different Academic Cultures: UK, Norway, Poland
- 9:30 Laura Himanen (Tampere University, Finland) Evaluating societal impact in Finland
- 10:00 Eiríkur Smári Sigurðarson & Elsa Haraldsdóttir (The University of Iceland, Iceland) Analyzing societal impact through dialogue
- 11:00 CLOSING KEYNOTE: Eleonora Belfiore (Loughborough University, UK): Does arts and humanities research matter? Reconciling matters of ‘value’ and ‘impact’
- 11:30 Q&A
- 11:45 Paul Benneworth, closing comments & reflections
Seminar ends at 13:30
For more information or to register for the seminar contact Paul Benneworth or Eirikur Smari
We have now set a date for the first of the three seminars in the NORSSHVALUE series. This will be held at the Faculty of the Humanities, the University of Iceland, Iceland, on 20-21 August 2019. The seminar is entitled “Social Sciences and Humanities Research Impact in the Nordic context: understanding the contemporary state-of-the-art in international comparative perspective”, and will include a mix of keynote presentations, policy overviews and a policy roundtable. Confirmed keynotes so far include:
Claire Donovan (Brunel University, UK): Assessing the Broader Impacts of Publicly-funded Research
Gunnar Sivertsen (NIFU, Norway) Normal versus extraordinary impact. Understanding and evaluating societal relations in the social sciences and humanities
Laura Himanen (Tampere University, Finland) Evaluating societal impact in Finland
Elenore Belfiore (Loughborough University, UK): Does arts and humanities research matter? Reconciling matters of ‘value’ and impact’
Silje Termann (NIFU, Norway) & Reetta Muhonen (Tampere University): Reflecting the limits of reporting societal impact for research evaluation purposes – cases of UK and Norway
Marta Wroblewska (National Centre for R&D , Poland): Assessing Impact in Different Academic Cultures: UK, Norway, Poland
The scoping call for this event is available to view here.