7th FREE-Kick column in the Sport&EU Review  

 
 

Albrecht Sonntag's 7th FREE-Kick column in the Sport&EU Review has just been published.

In times of tightening budgets and growing demands of accountability, public research funding agencies are increasingly scared of being accused of wasting the taxpayer’s money. While research investments into nanoscience, biogenetics or information technology are by definition considered worthwhile – Growth! Jobs! Future! – the social sciences and humanities inevitably raise suspicious questions such as: Is this really ‘useful research’? Or is it simply a way to squander public money in order to keep weird professors occupied in their ivory towers? And allow them to indulge in ‘all-expenses paid’ academic tourism? Under the justification pressure of utilitarianism, the buzzword of the times is ‘IMPACT’. In an age where politicians and public authorities prove more and more incapable of changing society for the better, social scientists are expected to promise in each and every funding application submitted to these same authorities that their work will have an impact. It makes sense, of course, to expect expensive research projects to give something back to society. And, fortunately, this noble idea is actually shared by many social scientists in principle. The devil hides, as often, in the detail: On whom exactly are they expected to have this impact? How are they expected to demonstrate that they do have one? In what way can impact be reasonably measured?

Please click here to download Issue 2, Volume 6 of the Sport&EU review - the column is pp21-27