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Small Advanced Economies Gather in Dublin to Discuss Research Impact and Metrics

International Representatives to attend two day meeting at Farmleigh

An international working group from six of the world’s small advanced economies (New Zealand, Singapore, Israel, Denmark, Finland and Ireland) is meeting in Dublin on September 30th and October 1st. The meeting, which is being hosted by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), is taking place at Farmleigh and will discuss the potential development of common metrics to help measure the impact of scientific research in similarly sized small countries. 

Prof. Mark Ferguson, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government and Director General of SFI said: “Small economies have different challenges and opportunities than large economies. For instance, small economies have tremendous potential to operate as international test beds for new technologies. Such economies should aim to collaborate and learn from each other and benchmark against each other. Establishing an agreed common system of effective measurement in the area of research output and impact is a good starting point. SFI is delighted to be hosting this workshop in Dublin. It underlines our commitment to developing Ireland’s international standing as a centre for excellence in scientific research.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland Mr Philip Ong, Mr Philip Ong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s office, Singapore Dr Peter Crabtree, General Manager, People, Science and Enterprise Policy branch, Science, Skills & Innovation Group, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime MinisterFrom Left: Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Mr Philip Ong, Mr Philip Ong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s office, Singapore, Dr Peter Crabtree, General Manager, People, Science and Enterprise Policy branch, Science, Skills & Innovation Group, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand and Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister


The meeting is part of the Small Advanced Nations Initiative involving New Zealand, Singapore, Israel, Finland, Denmark and Ireland. It was established in 2012 to explore possibilities for collaboration in an increasingly inter-connected and competitive global economy. Specifically, it aims to establish what insights small advanced countries can gain from looking at each other and what tools and metrics can and should be used to monitor small nation science, innovation and enterprise systems.

It is intended that the output from this week’s meeting in Dublin will help member economies to better define priority requirements in research areas of interest and to assess the availability and integrity of existing data. It is envisaged that a more definitive data set and more sophisticated analytical tools will emerge from the discussions in Dublin.

“Small advanced nations have different policy considerations to large nations and therefore may have different areas of focus. Unfortunately, large nations typically dominate available statistics, data and trends. Despite this, small nations have the opportunity to collect and analyse data in ways not possible for larger nations and address questions that either cannot be addressed or are not a focus for larger advanced nations. The goal of this project is to explore what can be learned from disaggregating data and performing analysis specific to countries of similar size,” added Prof. Ferguson.

Small nations are deemed to have populations below 10 million and ‘advanced economies’ is an International Monetary Fund (IMF) designation.