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Rathenau dissects impact measurements

Analysing the effectiveness of different parts of science policy gives a better idea of impact than studying public and private spending priorities, a report by the Rathenau Institute has said.

The institute, which advises the Dutch House of Representatives, says in the report that politicians who want to know the impact of science on the economy and society should focus on “impact pathways”. Examples of these pathways include the training of PhD students, the development of scientific instruments and research methods, emerging networks, regional knowledge ecosystems, public-private research and spinouts.

“The analysis of impact pathways is practical for three reasons,” said Barend van der Meulen, one of the authors of the report and head of research at the institute. “You focus on the effects of policy instead of expenditure, you have more opportunities to collect data and you can access foreign studies into impact pathways as comparative material.”

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