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Evaluating Impact of Europlanet Research Infrastructure Projects

Presentation #104.09 in the session Mission-supporting Practices, Modeling, and Data (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Evaluating Impact of Europlanet Research Infrastructure Projects

Europlanet 2024 RI is the third in a series of projects to provide access to research facilities and field sites, virtual services, tools and networking activities in support of the planetary community. As a ‘distributed RI’, Europlanet coordinates access to facilities and services based in institutions and countries across Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. The current project is funded by a €10 million grant from the European Commission (EC) and runs from 1 February 2020 to 31 July 2024. The project is highly interdisciplinary, and involves over 50 directly-funded ‘beneficiary’ institutions and many thousands of individuals working in various sectors of research, industry, policy and communications, as well as volunteers contributing through amateur astronomy, citizen science or outreach.

In February 2020, we put in place an evaluation framework through which we could examine the extent to which the project’s various activities reach their intended goals, and understand what causes barriers to success. Our framework is aligned with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) strategic objectivesfor assessing research infrastructures, which include a range of core indicators for scientific, education, training and societal impacts. The framework also incorporates categories of information requested by the EC’s reporting portal.

Together with the project’s activity leads, we identified metrics and indicators of impact, such as publications and conference presentations, new collaborations, numbers of users or participants in workshops and training sessions, and media coverage. We also defined the user groups that we wanted to engage, such as researchers, industry, policy makers, early careers and under-represented communities. Through the Europlanet website and online tools, we set up forms and databases to track this information, and designed feedback surveys for users and visitors to facilities. We have also conducted interviews with some participants to gain more in-depth insights.

In this presentation, we will present findings from our evaluation of Europlanet projects to date. We will review scientific productivity, considering new research activities or collaborations that would not have happened without Europlanet support, future collaborations planned, and publications that have resulted from the project. We will also look at community support activities and consider how wider society has been engaged with the project.

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