What is the impact of NRPs?
The mission of National Research Programmes (NRPs) is to contribute to the solution of pressing problems of our age. An analysis of three NRPs now sheds light on the impact of the NRP funding scheme as a whole - in academia and, to a greater extent, in politics and society.
The consulting firm Technopolis analysed three recently completed NRPs, namely NRP 59 "Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants", NRP 60 "Gender Equality" and NRP 61 "Sustainable Water Management". Based on the analysis, Technopolis was able to draw a number of conclusions with regard to the NRP scheme as a whole.
According to the results of the study, the NRPs produce an impressive amount of high-quality scientific knowledge. The analysis also showed that no general overhaul of the NRP scheme is necessary for the time being.
The study recommends a number of measures that could help to enhance "broader impact", a key aspect of the NRPs:
- Defining success and impact indicators from the outset;
- Consulting with stakeholder groups from outside academia when assessing an NRP's feasibility;
- Launching an NRP even if the pool of potential researchers is limited;
- Not necessarily grouping research projects within modules;
- Establishing a slow phasing-out for NRPs;
- Flexibly involving stakeholder groups in research projects.
The SNSF has issued a statement on the study. Both the study and the statement are now publicly accessible.