Economic leverage monitor of research projects

Economic leverage monitor of research projects

IDEA developed a new method to systematically map and measure the micro-economic (leverage) effects of public-private studies in terms of investments, turnover and employment. This methodology fits in with the increasing attention of the policy in terms of the yield of public investments in research and development.

In view of the confidential nature of micro-economic data such as turnover, investments and employment, it is a big challenge to request it from companies that took part in public research programmes. However, increasingly policymakers are asking to quantify the market impact of public investments in research and development in specific yield indicators. IDEA Consult developed a framework, through clear confidentiality agreements, to map, measure and quantify the impact of public research programmes on the economic performance of participating companies, in specific ratios, such as the generated turnover for each euro of government input.

We developed and refined this methodology during a series of jobs for iMinds (www.iminds.be) about the micro-economic effects of the ICON (Interdisciplinary Co-operative Research). The method comprises 3 steps:

  • In a first phase of the project we looked into what the potential effects are of ICON projects on the participating companies. We collected this information in a workshop with iMinds, a screening of ICON success stories and about 20 interviews with ICON project partners. 
  • In a second phase during a pilot measurement, in a series of in-depth interviews with 6 partners of iMinds, we effectively measured these effects. We made a distinction between effects on (a) innovation-enablers, (b) new development/launch of products and services and (c) micro-economic indicators such as turnover, follow-up investments and job creation and preservation. 
  • We are currently scaling up this measurement scheme by conducting extensive surveys and interviews with 25 ICON corporate partners to come to a coherent set of micro-economic data that shows the impact of ICON projects on the participating companies.

The end result of this effects measurement is a series of specific figures and ratios such as the generated turnover for each euro of government input. It is this kind of data that can boost the current policy discussion.

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