Impact assessment of public policy, and research policy in particular, is a need more and more expressed by political decision-makers in order to account to the public for the results of the spending invested. Beyond the standard peer-review system dedicated to the scientific production evaluation, this involves describing and measuring the benefits of research for society in the broad sense: the economy, the health, the environment, the culture etc.
As a national multidisciplinary funding agency, the ANR has financed over 18,000 projects since its foundation. The underlying issues of impact are consequently very diverse. What are the effects of the agency's actions in the scientific and socio-economic world? How does research offering evolve over time and in response to calls for proposals?
The ANR thus considers different approaches to, describe, and measure the impacts of its actions in all their diversity. The methodologies used are both qualitative and quantitative and, drawing for example on scientific expertise, surveys, interviews but also data analysis, bibliometrics, text mining, case studies, or econometric studies. Impact assessment also depends on rigorous data collection. Access to reliable and interoperable data, which is made available in the context of Open Science, are important factors in the successful completion of impact assessment.
The ways this activity is carried out, published and communicated need to be defined in consultation with research stakeholders. This mission is part of a process of dialogue, co-construction and shared learning that enables the agency to better anticipate the effects of its actions and informs its strategy with a view to ultimately incorporating the analysis results into its programming.