New report on socio-economic impact of ERICs, including EATRIS as a case study

Published 12 October 2022

The scale of investment at European and national levels in Research Infrastructures (RIs), as well as the broad range of stakeholders involved, warrant expectations on the return on investment in terms of socioeconomic impact (SEI), hence the increased scrutiny and demand for reliable assessment methodologies. SEI is requested by all funding and evaluation agencies at national, regional and international levels.

Twenty-four RIs currently benefit from the European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC) status. The ERIC Forum is the bottom-up collaboration of all 24 ERICs looking for common denominators. The Forum is the voice of ERICs on matters of common interest with the overarching mission to foster their sustainability, impact and visibility within the ERA. One key mission of the ERIC Forum is to share best practice. ERICs having already carried out a socioeconomic impact assessment can, by identifying common grounds and challenges, help build a common framework that could help other ERICs to identify and measure their SEI while taking into account their diversity and unique challenges. 

Consequently, the ERIC Forum has published a Policy Brief entitled: “Assessing the socio-economic impact of ERICs: Paving the way towards evaluating the full value and contribution of RIs to resilient knowledge-based economies.” The aim of the policy report, created jointly with RI stakeholders and the support of facilitators, is to understand better the different parameters at play and to propose recommendations on how the assessment of the SEI can be carried out and supported during the RIs’ lifecycle. The objective of the report is to bring together ERICs with their national, European and International stakeholders and collaborators to pave the way towards evaluating the full value and contribution of RIs towards their respective economies.  

You will notice on Page 23 that there’s a case study on EATRIS, and specifically our involvement in a pilot supported by the H2020-funded RI-PATHS coordinated by The European Future Innovation System (EFIS). The pilot was aimed to support several RI’s with getting started with their impact pathways. For EATRIS, the pilot allowed us to identify three preliminary key impact pathways and design methodologies to collect impact evidence. Over the past year, EATRIS has built on this work and has been formalising its own impact assessment framework that captures all relevant EATRIS impact pathways and associated impact indicators, in collaboration with EFIS. 

The ERIC Forum survey on the SEI evaluation practices as well as perspectives from case studies, including that of EATRIS, sheds some light on the methodologies adopted by the different RIs as well as the gaps and challenges faced by ERICs. ERIC and RI stakeholders at EU, Member State and ESFRI level provide their insight on their expectations regarding RI SEI, as well as the resources needed to best support their assessment.



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