The demand for impactful research, and the challenge of demonstrating the benefits

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The 8th Annual Meeting of the Global Research Council discussed the demand for impactful research, and the challenge of demonstrating the global benefits of research projects.

According to the São Paulo Research Foundation in Phys.org, the growing demand for impactful research was discussed at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC), held in São Paulo, Brazil, on May 1-3, 2019.

The meeting was organized by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).The heads of research funding organisations believe it is important not to overlook the fact that many research projects have an impact after many years, rather than immediately.

The demand for impactful research

Molapo Qhobela, CEO of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), argued that while there has always been a demand for impactful research, it has intensified in the last 15 years. Qhobela argued: “To some extent the successes of science have led nations to believe in the power of knowledge to develop their societies. So as we show that this power can change people’s lives, they expect this to happen and demand more. I believe this demand strengthens from time to time.”

Curiosity-driven research

Carlos Henrique Brito da Cruz, FAPESP’s scientific director argued that universities and funding agencies are under pressure to demonstrate how research has a societal impact. However, research should still also be driven by curiosity as the use may become apparent later, Brito added: “Here in Brazil in the 1970s, there was a decision to try using ethanol as an automotive fuel because we had a problem with fossil fuel prices. This acted as an incentive to grow more sugarcane and process it to produce ethanol for the domestic market. Only 10 years later was it realized that this was also a good way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The 8th Annual Meeting of the Global Research Council discussed the demand for impactful research, and the challenge of demonstrating the global benefits of research projects.

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