Big Data approaches for improved monitoring of research and innovation performance and assessment of the societal IMPACT in the Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing Societal Challenge

Recent economic and societal developments created a strong demand for additional evidence on the performance of research and innovation (R&I) systems, as well as the societal impact they bring. However, this increased demand is not being met by the current R&I indicators, as data collection typically stops at the end of research funding, while most results and impacts materialise in the medium- and long-term of the R&I lifecycle.

Data4Impact was a H2020 research project funded by the European Commission which addressed this problem by capitalising on the latest technological developments in big data technologies and analytics (Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning). In order to provide better R&I monitoring and impact assessment, Data4Impact combined large volumes of structured and unstructured data from different sources and applied its methodology on publicly-funded health research in EU member states over the course of the project.

A series of indicators were developed on the performance and societal impact of 40+ research programmes in the health domain. The comprehensive set of data and indicators combine publication, patent, company/innovation, clinical guidelines, project monitoring, as well as various social media/media and other types of online data. Based on the novel set of indicators, we developed an online analysis platform designed to better suit the needs of research funders, policymakers, researchers and the society at large. The Data4Impact platform shows a series of results and indicators for 40+ research programmes in the health domain.

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