LISER Annual Report 2016: Impacting society - Growing recognition as research institution and major player in influencing public policy
Esch-sur-Alzette, 31 May 2017 - The Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), created 28 years ago, has a robust infrastructure that allows it to observe and analyse Luxembourg’s ever expanding, international and multicultural society in its entirety. Thus, as a research institute, LISER is able to provide a multidisciplinary and comprehensive analytical study of society from multiple angles. In order to adapt to the rhythm of society, LISER itself has evolved and has developed a multitude of services, skills and research projects.
Change in Management: LISER Appoints a New CEO
Originally from Esch-sur-Alzette, the new Chief Executive Officer is committed to developing the social and economic impact of LISER. Upon her appointment on 1 September 2016, Aline Muller, Professor of Finance at HEC-University of Liège, declared her commitment to strengthening the role of LISER within, and for the benefit of, Luxembourg society. In addition to gaining greater visibility and scientific recognition at a European level, Muller also insists that researchers have a societal role to play in improving the conditions for developing the social and economic fabric of Luxembourg, and in adjusting and implementing its economic and social policies. In order to do this, LISER has developed tools that increase the value and usefulness of its research work for the whole of society.
“A research institute is, above all made up of its dedicated to research people. Our mission at LISER is to make certain that the scientific work carried out by these men and women is seen and heard and used in the service of society,” Prof Aline Muller.
Increased scientific recognition as research institute
With more than 50 articles published in international scientific journals in 2016, LISER publications are becoming increasingly recognised, quoted and consulted - with more than 10,000 consultations through the Institute's website alone. Many of these papers have been published in journals ranked in the world’s top 10% on the basis of the Scopago® Scopus journal ranking. For example, "The Effect of Social Benefits on Youth Employment: Combining RD and a Behavioural Model", published in the Journal of Human Resources (p.18 of the report), “Pension Insecurity and Wellbeing in Europe” published in the Journal of Social Policy (p. 26 of report), and “Buy-to-let Gentrification: Extending Social Change through Tenure Shifts” published in the Journal of Environment and Planning.
In 2016 LISER also welcomed more than 2,300 participants to 93 seminars, workshops, conferences and trainings. 65% of the speakers came from international institutions and exchanges between disciplines and academics from all over the world were stimulated. As a result, in this setting where reflection and interaction were encouraged, new research ideas and new collaborations were born.
Face-to-face: LISER’s Surveys team takes society’s pulse
In 2016, LISER decided to invest in its data-processing and surveys infrastructure by recruiting Dr. Agnieszka Walczak from the University of Cambridge. A team of 100 LISER surveyors, already well known throughout the country, are responsible for data collection using a research survey methodology for the production of statistics.
The major projects of the Surveys team in 2016 included the launch of the EU-SILC project (European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions). In this context, LISER interviewed 8,359 adults and 1,939 children in order to collect data on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions. In addition, LISER has also begun preparations for the launch of the SHARE survey (Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe). In this case, more than 2,000 Luxembourg residents aged 50 and over, will be interviewed in 2017 in order to better understand the evolution and consequences of an aging population in Luxembourg (p. 40 and 41 of the report).
We would also like to highlight the effort made by LISER teams in 2016 to develop tools to facilitate the use and access to the Institute's databases (p. 45 of the report). Aware that LISER databases are of great value to the scientific and socio-economic community, the Institute decided to further develop them and make available to the public through "Cataliser" - a catalogue of databases, as well as an internet application, that allows users to search for and consult a list of more than 150 databases and have access to associated metadata and related technical and methodological guides.
Impact on society: informing, providing scientifically recognised research on real issues and contributing to the improvement of public policies
LISER is regularly called upon to provide expertise and research services for society and for public authorities and ministries. It regularly produces research that has a direct impact on future legislation. The following are some examples:
- the study on NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), carried out on behalf of the Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth and aimed at unemployed young people;
- the preparatory work for the creation of an Observatory for Children, elements of which have been taken over by the Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth with the aim of creating an observatory as per the Youth Act (amended July 2008);
- the study currently underway on models of personalised assistance for persons with disabilities on behalf of the Ministry of Family and Integration, which is also likely contribute to the reform of disability policy in Luxembourg;
- the study that has just been commissioned by the Ministry of Economy on shop opening hours, which will contribute to the reform of current regulations;
- finally, the study monitoring the Housing Pact for the Ministry of Housing, which aims to provide tangible information to assist in the best possible reforms to the existing law for the municipalities.
Other more recurrent studies, such as the establishment of a social index on the population of pupils attending basic education in Luxembourg, pursue the broader objective of providing, on a regular basis, tangible information and analysis enabling the authorities to allocate State resources in the most optimal way possible.
The impact of research on society is key to LISER and forms part of a philosophy that aims to bring the Institute’s work to the whole of society. The "Facts & Figures" initiative, through which LISER launched an interactive website dedicated to a series of socio-economic indicators, is a demonstration. These socio-economic indicators (ISEs), which can be consulted online, provide an overview of the economic, social and geographical dimensions of Luxembourg society in the form of dynamic, interactive charts. They are accompanied by adapted texts so that the general public, as well as scientists, can better understand the history and the socio-political context described in these barometers of Luxembourg society..
Today Luxembourg is an international and multicultural society, which is, by nature, shaped by profound technological and global changes. As national and European efforts and projects continue, we cannot ignore the impact that these transformations will have on the quality and sustainability of our society and social integration. LISER, as stated in its mission, must continue to share the results and analyses of its work..
LISER is committed to fulfilling its mission in a responsible way, always looking to find the most efficient way to allocate public funding, while ensuring that it meets its institutional responsibility to provide scientific excellence for the service of society.