News Archive

03.05.2017 19:00

BONUS and BONUS-generated knowledge have had a positive and substantial impact on scientific excellence and policy-making in the Baltic

4 May 2017, Helsinki.  The different dimensions of BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme, is on show today at the 6th BONUS Forum. It is bringing together over 70 stakeholders, researchers and funders to Helsinki to mark the 10th anniversary of establishing the independent legal entity governing BONUS, the ‘BONUS European Economic Interest Grouping’.


The key findings of studies assessing the programme impact with particular emphasis on the years 2009-2016 of BONUS project implementation have been published in BONUS briefing number 26. Also a comprehensive article based on both of these assessments has been submitted for an open-access scientific publication.


A study of the BONUS impact on scientific excellence and dissemination shows that BONUS-funded Baltic Sea core papers on average had higher citation rates and were published in journals with higher Journal Impact Factors (JIFs) than non-BONUS-funded Baltic Sea core papers. The study examined Web of Science (WoS) data from the period of 2009-2015. It is especially of note that the BONUS papers, but also the non-BONUS papers, had higher average citation rates than the JIFs of the journals in which they were published.


“This indicates that Baltic Sea science in general, and BONUS-funded research in particular, has a high impact on marine science in general,” says Professor Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm, Stockholm University, the author of the assessment. 


The second assessment showed the practical use of BONUS-generated knowledge for stakeholders. It shows that the BONUS programme has had a strong, positive impact on the application of science to policy development, changes in funding patterns and on the involvement of different actors.


“Our findings show that BONUS has been responsible for wide-ranging improvements such as the extent to which science-based thinking and argument is used in policy-making; in today’s society having policy informing science and science informing policy is paramount ,” says Professor Mike Elliott, co-author of the assessment from the Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies at the University of Hull, UK. 


Key policies supported by the BONUS research programme include the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive as well as other coastal and marine environmental policies, directives and plans.


“Given the policy-driven nature of BONUS, we are delighted with these findings. The impact of BONUS on the progress of Baltic Sea science and the practical use of BONUS-generated knowledge for stakeholders is of critical importance to us – as stipulated in our strategic research agenda. Now we are reassured that the journey over the past decade is pointing in the right direction and lays a great foundation for the future,” says Dr Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director of BONUS.





·         Impact assessment studies on the BONUS programme 2009-2016 (a comprehensive article based on both of these assessments has been submitted in May 2017 for an open-access scientific publication):

Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm (2017): Assessment of the BONUS impact on scientific excellence and dissemination

Steve Barnard and Mike Elliott (2017): Assessment of BONUS impact: BONUS delivery, performance, and stakeholder opinions

·         The Baltic Sea core papers 2002–2016 that were used in the study of the impact of BONUS on scientific excellence and dissemination were collected from the Web of Science (WoS).  Altogether, 18 590 publications were identified by 25 geographical search criteria (‘Baltic’ and 24 subareas of the Baltic Sea, e.g. ‘Kattegat’, ‘Gulf of Finland’, ‘Bothnian Bay’) in the WoS and 42 % of these were core papers that deal with Baltic Sea research. These 7 809 Baltic Sea core papers, 97 % original research papers and 3 % review papers, were used to build the three data sets PRE-BONUS (2002–2008), NON-BONUS (2009–2016) and BONUS (2009–2016) analysed to study of the impact of the BONUS programme on Baltic Sea science as a whole.

·         Baltic Sea core paper = an original research paper or a review paper published in Web of Science (WoS)-ranked journals, reporting Baltic Sea research and identified in the WoS by the 25 geographical search criteria.

·         BONUS briefing 26 ‘BONUS making a difference: Impacting the progress of science and evidence-based decision-making in the Baltic Sea region’ summarises some key results of the two assessments and is  available online at and in hard copy upon request by emailing the BONUS Secretariat bonus(at)

BONUS is a joint research and development programme producing knowledge to support

development and implementation of regulations, policies and management practices specifically tailored for the Baltic Sea region. It issues calls for competitive proposals and funds projects of high excellence and relevance based on its strategic research agenda.  Half of the funding for the EUR 100 million programme comes from the national research funding institutions around the Baltic Sea, the other half from the EU. 




More information

Kaisa Kononen, Executive Director, BONUS EEIG, tel. +358 (0) 40 581 1189, kaisa.kononen(at)

Maija Sirola, Communications Manager, BONUS EEIG, tel. +358 (0)40 352 0076, maija.sirola(at)



Return to headlines