Oslo Institute for Research on the Impact of Science

The overall objective of the OSIRIS Centre is to study how and under what circumstances research produces effects in society at large – in a way that generates new insights and helps policymakers, users and research organisations to better contribute to generating impact.

There are four research questions in OSIRIS:

  1. How can we identify research impacts, their magnitude and the processes that lead to them?
  2. How can we characterise the absorptive capacity and processes of cogeneration, transfer, engagement, uptake and utilisation of knowledge through which investment in research lead to social and economic impacts over time?
  3. How do impacts differ by field and sector of science and by area of application?
  4. What is the role of policies and framework conditions for research impact and how can policy and framework conditions be designed to stimulate impact?

OSIRIS aims to investigate impact from a broad stakeholder perspective, and to contribute to building bridges between different approaches and communities, starting from a definition stating that "Impact (...) may be considered as the direct and indirect 'influence' of research or its 'effect on' an individual, a community, or society as a whole, including benefits to our economic, social, human and natural capital" (Harland and O'Connor, 2015).

OSIRIS’ take on research impact is to study processes of knowledge exchange and utilisation where we prioritise knowledge absorption and utilisation by stakeholders. This process is probably idiosyncratic to knowledge exchange-utilisation networks/commu­nities tied to specific fields of science and sectors of application. We will therefore study research impact processes and conditions in different sectors which possibly interact with particular fields of science. We will look at impact of research in three contexts of application: within health and care systems, within national level policy-making and within industrial innova­tion/­economic Growth.


OSIRIS activities are centered around four themes. Each theme is lead by a principal investigator (PI), heading up multi-institutional teams. In short:

1. Research Impact Assessment (RIA) Tools

Theme coordinator: Magnus Gulbrandsen

This theme lies at the heart of OSIRIS, and will be carried out as a core activity throughout the centre life span.

This activity brings together the participants in the centre to develop the conceptal and methodological tools required to perform the empirical studies, to analyse comparative data from the different societal sectors, and to engage OSIRIS stakeholders in the development of research impact methodologies and concepts. This work will be closely connected to monitoring of impact assessment practices and meta-analysis of impact assessment studies and impact policies.

2. Identifying the economic impacts of research and innovation

Theme coordinator: Arvid Raknerud

This theme represents the most long-standing tradition within impact studies: the economic effects of research. More information about our research within this theme can be found here.

3. Impact of research on policymaking

Theme coordinator: Jakob Edler

Research impact on policymaking is a broad topic that can be approached from many different perspectives. Our take on it is described in more detail on this page.

4. Impact of research in the health and care context

Theme coordinator: Taran Thune

Another broad topic is how research is utilised in various ways in health and care. This is a central pathway of impact for much research, and it often encompasses policymaking (because regulation is essential in health innovation) and industrial development (because of an expectation that new medical treatments and technologies will generate new firms and jobs). Our health theme is described further here.

Published Mar. 14, 2017 11:17 AM - Last modified May 13, 2017 3:18 AM