Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Impact of biosciences and environmental research seen in environmental protection, health recommendations and legislation


Academy-funded biosciences and environmental research projects have many different kinds of scientific and social impacts. Basic research in these fields promotes not only the advancement of science, but also many social objectives. This is clear from a report published by the Academy of Finland on 17 May on the impact of biosciences and environmental research. The report is one of the Academy’s SIGHT2006 publications on the state, level and impact of Finnish scientific research published this year.

The report "The impact of research in biosciences and environmental research" focuses on examining the scientific and social impact of the research through case descriptions. It also looks into researchers’ views on the impact of their own research and on possible obstacles to achieving impact.

The report shows that monitoring impact of research is a long-term commitment. It usually takes a long time before new research knowledge can be seen in legislation or in society. As a whole, the scientific knowledge gained from individual studies, though seeming somewhat fragmented, does in the long term become visible in society and in the actions of individual citizens. This becomes particularly clear when assessing the impact of environmental research results.

Impact of basic research in all shapes and sizes

The report indicates that the impact of basic research varies over time, showing a multiform quality. In terms of generating impact, the process is promoted and accelerated by a clear social need for research results. Impact is evident in environmental research projects in the form of environmental protection, for instance. The environmental case studies also show that the realisation of the impact of research is closely linked to various administrative and political processes as well as economic interests.

Typically, social impact of environmental research is reflected in politics and administration. This is because environmental issues have during the last decade come high up on the agenda in national and international politics, creating a real demand for research knowledge in the field. The Kyoto Protocol and various measures to improve the state of the Baltic Sea have also depended on this knowledge.

On the other hand, it seems we do not know how to fully tap into environmental research knowledge. In future, even the economic importance of environmental knowledge will increase, for example as a result of emission trade administration. An example is a project headed by Academy Research Fellow Jari Liski studying carbon cycles through different methods. The project has had important bearing on climate and forest policy planning. Liski’s team developed a model for carbon cycling in forest soils, which is simple enough to be applied to different kinds of forests and attached to different calculation systems.

Environmental knowledge is also hugely important in the development of human well-being, especially when assessing various environmental risks from the viewpoint of health and well-being. Professor Matti Jantunen’s project that examined the exposure of the working population in the Helsinki region to air pollution provides a good example. The project was part of the international EXPOLIS study that collected a multinational database of air pollution exposure across Europe. Project funding from the Academy of Finland made it possible to analyse and publish database samples and results.

The main objective of the EXPOLIS study was to create a database with easily accessible data to be analysed in decision-making. Collected data helps in determining the causes of exposure problems, as well as its sources, microenvironments and activities. This leads on to further examining the reasons for exposure. Today, the results of the EXPOLIS study influence decision-making and drafting of decisions all over Europe. Even WHO has used the results in its reporting. The National Public Health Institute in Finland has used the material in a study on chemical risks in the environment and in the recommendations that followed.

Impact calls upon development of the research system

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences and Environment considers it important that a broad development effort is undertaken for purposes of promoting the impact of research. "The problems of impact cannot be resolved simply by working to develop research. It is also crucially important to promote the demand for genuine knowledge," the Research Council states. "The development of the European Research Area, Community patenting and knowledge-intensive common markets are also key to achieving greater impact."

"The impact of research in biosciences and environmental research" studies the impacts of Academy funding in food sciences and environmental research funded by the Research Council for Biosciences and Environment, impact of Academy research programmes in general as well as the impact of international programme cooperation.

The report has been published in Finnish in the Academy of Finland’s publication series and may be ordered by e-mail, The report is available in PDF format on the Academy’s web pages under Publications (Publication series).

Riitta Tirronen | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>