How to measure progress on the priority areas of the Recommendation on Science?

How to measure progress on the priority areas of the Recommendation on Science?

on September 24, 2020

As a part of the RRING project, we developed measures that can be employed at different levels in member state scientific systems to evaluate progress towards full implementation of the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers.

Dr. Eric Jensen, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations (ICoRSA) Policy Research Unit, partner on the RRING, GRRIP and MUSICA Project, recently presented an indicators framework for the implementation and evaluation of the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (RSSR), focusing on 10 key priority areas.

The five levels of indicators developed through RRING can be used in concert to provide a progress picture in the implementation of the Recommendation on Science: including ‘top-down’ (government and funders) and ‘bottom-up’ (research staff, research performing organisations and general public) levels.

Levels of measurement

By applying indicators across the levels, we can track the progress of the implementation of these recommendations from national policy through to research funding systems, research performing organisations and finally to individual researchers.

1.  Member State (National Reporting)
  • Traditional focus for UN statistics
  • Representatives for the Member State report objective statistics to give a high level picture
2. Research Funding Organisations (RFOs)
  • A key way Member States can implement the RSSR is through research funding allocations and policies.
  • Prioritisation of mission-oriented funding, strings attached and selection criteria in competitive application processes can help align a Member State’s research system with RSSR principles.
3. Research Performing Organizations (RPOs)
  • The institutions employing research staff are central in the research system, affecting how researchers are treated, supported and maintained in sustainable careers.
  • While RPOs often take cues from governments and research funders, they have their own norms, policies and practices.
  • This means that such organisations are important to evaluate directly to understand progress at this crucial institutional level.
4. Research Staff
  • Individual research staff are a key player in the RSSR, whose voice should be included in assessments of progress in RSSR implementation.
  • We provide indicators to provide the ‘bottom up’ vantage point of individual researchers.
5. General public
  • A number of RSSR principles have implications for public views on the role of science.
  • Indicator dimension focusing on the public aspect of the RSSR priority areas can be aligned to existing measures such as The Wellcome Trust Global Monitor.

About Dr. Eric Jensen, Senior Research Fellow and director of ICoRSA Policy Research Unit

Professor Eric A. Jensen has a global reputation in social research and impact evaluation of public and stakeholder engagement with science. Jensen is currently Senior Research Fellow at ICoRSA (International Consortium of Research Staff Associations), working on the RRING ( and GRRIP ( projects about responsible research and innovation.

Dr. Jensen’s track record includes over 100 publications- including peer-reviewed journal articles in Nature, Conservation Biology, Public Understanding of Science, and books and book chapters published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press, as well as high profile government-commissioned reports- and dozens of major projects on science communication, public engagement and responsible research and innovation. He has worked as an evaluation trainer, advisor and consultant for many government departments, agencies and public engagement institutions globally, such as Science Foundation Ireland, Science Gallery Dublin, the European Space Agency, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, CERN, Arts Council England, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, Association of Science & Technology Centers and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jensen’s PhD is in sociology from the University of Cambridge. His expertise spans themes relating to evidence-based science communication, public engagement, research impact and responsible research and innovation policies and practices.

For access to some of Dr Jensen’s publications see:
• LinkedIn Profile