How do we ensure that general practitioners use new research-based knowledge on health and disease in their daily work? How do vaccination programmes influence population health and thereby affect the long-term welfare of society? How can the most appropriate criteria for distributing research funds be designed?
These are some of the questions three research projects will attempt to answer based on grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The grants of DKK 10 million each are part of the Foundation’s social science research programme on the socioeconomic impact of research in Denmark. The aim is to provide new knowledge about the impact of investing in research in Denmark.
One grant recipient, Dorte Gyrd-Hansen, Professor, Danish Centre for Health Economics (DaCHE), University of Southern Denmark, carries out research on how society optimizes the benefits of research-based knowledge within health, an area in which general practitioners play a key role. Her project will examine how general practitioners acquire new knowledge and how they use this in their interaction with patients.
“We often talk about setting priorities in the healthcare system when expensive medicines are involved. However, we know very little about the priorities healthcare professionals set every day in consulting patients and how new knowledge is disseminated among general practitioners. Being better informed about general practitioners’ behaviour in setting priorities for using new knowledge may help us to create value for patients and society,” says Dorte Gyrd-Hansen.
Torben Tranæs, Executive Director of Research, VIVE – the Danish Center for Social Science Research, has received a grant for a project that, among other things, will examine how research-based innovations – in this case, childhood vaccinations – affect the welfare of society and how various population groups perceive and use vaccination programmes.
“With this research project, we hope to determine how much vaccination programmes benefit society and thereby be able to design programmes that use the results of research on vaccination even more effectively,” says Torben Tranæs.
Carter W. Bloch, Professor, Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University is the third grant recipient. He will focus on how to design public and private research funding programmes in order to increase the socio-economic impact of research.
“We currently know very little about which specific management instruments within research funding have the optimum effect in practice. Given the substantial resources allocated to funding research, improving the understanding of the actual effect of funding mechanisms is very important in optimizing the returns from both public and private investment in research,” says Carter W. Bloch.
The three projects comprise the framework for this year’s grants under the Foundation’s social science research programme.
Thomas Alslev Christensen, Head of Operations, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says: “Our aim with this programme is to create more evidence-based knowledge on the economic impact of research because this will enhance our understanding of how society can best benefit from the resources allocated to research. These three projects are very innovative, and we look forward to following them in the years to come.”
About the projects
Dorte Gyrd-Hansen, Professor, Danish Centre for Health Economics (DaCHE), University of Southern Denmark, Odense
Regulating and Nudging for Improved Societal Impact of Research-based Knowledge in Healthcare (the PINCH project).
The project focuses on how to ensure that research generated through major investment is disseminated to users (through guidelines, for example) and results in socioeconomic effects in improving health and increasing productivity. General practitioners play an important role in determining the effects. The project will use economic theory, behavioural economics, psychology and research in public sector administration to create a theoretical and empirical basis for examining how general practitioners’ personal characteristics, financial incentives, norms and resource limitations drive their accumulation and use of research-based knowledge.
Torben Tranæs, Executive Director of Research, VIVE – the Danish Center for Social Science Research, Copenhagen
The Socioeconomic Impact of Research-based Innovations – Implementation and Long-term Consequences of Population-based Childhood Vaccination Programmes
By studying research-based innovations – such as childhood vaccination –the project aims to examine how research affects the welfare of society via influencing health, educational level and general participation in society. The project will also examine how the healthcare system implements childhood vaccination programmes and how various population groups perceive and use vaccination programmes.
Carter W. Bloch, Professor, Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University
Promoting the Socioeconomic Impact of Research – the Role of Funding Practices
The overall aim of the project is to examine how and to what extent research funding mechanisms focusing on socioeconomic impact affect public sector research activities. In this context, socioeconomic impact means not only the tangible end-products of research activities but also the interactions during the research process that contribute to creating value for both the research communities and the stakeholders in pursuing results that benefit society. The project will initially investigate how funding systems can be designed optimally to create socioeconomic impact. Then the project will examine how such funding mechanisms influence research and knowledge-disseminating activities in practice in selected research groups.
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