Researchers
May 20, 2020

The Relationship Between the Sciences and Impact Investing

Impact investing occurs globally when investors pursue avenues that lead them to projects, studies, and campaigns that give back to the community or the world at large. This opens the field to academic research, particularly in the subject of science and its interdisciplinary aspects. When sciences are used to explore research studies that would make an impact, it can appeal to these investors - but the relationship has its pros and cons.
Source: Pixabay

In a perfect world, research would be done as it’s needed, everything necessary for the experiments to be performed would be available, and money would never be an obstacle. But the reality is a far cry from that, and researchers frequently turn to investors to aid them in obtaining the equipment and supplies they require for their work. This is where impact investing has become beneficial to the sciences recently.

Impact investments are financial capital given to a field of study for specific research with the intention to use the knowledge to create social and environmental impact. Of course, the return on investment financially is also expected to occur. Similar to impact investments, sustainable and ethical investments are also used in the sciences to further research.

The Need for Investments in Research

As with any industry, researchers have overhead involved in churning out the results of their data. From paying salaries to purchasing equipment, a thorough, detailed experiment can be costly.

The goal of most research is to get ahead of the current knowledge available in a field. Today’s science focuses predominantly on using technology to improve human health and environmental impacts. These are both global developments, which makes investing in these experiments tempting to those with the capital to fund them. 

Impact investing has significantly influenced global development through the sciences. When investors place their capital in research like agriculture or healthcare, the results can be widespread, creating new jobs, improving human and animal health, and giving people access to information that can be life-changing or life-saving. Although these benefits are not always financial, they are advantageous and impactful.

Impact Investing in Academic Fields

Particularly at the university level, research is done with the intent of making a difference in the fields of science. Students, under scholarly tutelage, are exploring ways to do good in the world, but the capital to fund their experiments is limited. When an idea arises that has the potential of significant merit, an impact investor may step in to have a say in the experiment and improve the ability for it to be more thorough. In addition, this gives the investor partial rights to use the results for their benefit.

Common areas of science that use impact investing to further research studies include: 

●      Food and agriculture

●      Renewable energy sources

●      Housing

●      Education

●      Healthcare

●      Conservation

●      Manufacturing

●      Infrastructures

These are necessary areas where research must continually be applied in order to keep the field relevant and get ahead of any problems. But using impact investors in academics has drawbacks, too.

Pros and Cons of Impact Investing

The obvious positives of impact investors in academics, particularly the sciences, is that the funds become available for the work to be done that could potentially make a global difference. Investors get the benefit of being able to put their capital where their values are, even if they don’t have the knowledge to do the work themselves. If they see an avenue of challenges that needs to be addressed, they can invest the money to have a solution attempted.

However, researchers who accept funding from impact investors have to be aware of certain cons to the agreement. Investors typically expect to have a say in the experiment because their money is tied up in the end results. Because of this, those involved in the research may be expected to sacrifice some of their values in exchange for a better bottom line.  

The results of the data can also be tainted if the impact investor has a stake in the overall outcome. To ensure the scholar’s research is considered credible and legitimate, a thorough review of the investor and their prior and future goals is necessary.

For the investor, a balance has to be weighed between a financial return and the potential to make a large social impact. For the researcher, the balance has to be the formula of funding plus values to equal credible, unbiased end results. It’s not always an easy balance to achieve, and both sides may end up having to compromise when impact funding enters the world of academics.

Using Impactio In Your Research

With so many factors to have to juggle in order to ensure your research gets its maximum impact, you need a constant variable you can depend on. Impactio is there for you to get your work to its target audience with professional, consistent documents. 

Impactio is a platform where you can easily insert your Google Scholar Profile Link and get your academic impact analytics reports. Use these insightful and powerful reports to provide credibility to your work. Turn your citation reports and academic resume into professional-looking PDFs or web pages for the ultimate visual impact and let the data speak for itself!

Tags Academic Research Academic Impact Research Investment
Jason Collins
Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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