AnM.2: Case Studies of Reference Laboratories

AnM.2: Case Studies of Reference Laboratories

Case studies of already operating reference laboratories are used throughout FenRIAM in order to assess the future impacts that can be expected from a new or planned RI facility.

In the framework of FenRIAM, a case study of a reference laboratory refers to a SE impact analysis of an already operating facility that is assumed to be comparable to the RI under investigation. A case study may explore the achieved SE impacts of the reference laboratory in a comprehensive way in order to get an idea about the possible impacts of a new or planned facility. The study can also be limited to certain types of impacts in order to assess e.g. their quantity or favourable conditions for their creation. Case studies of reference laboratories can involve different types of data collection and analysis methods, e.g. those proposed in FenRIAM. They need to be selected by the case study team according to their suitability and the available data sources. Impact assessment through case studies of reference laboratories must be accompanied by a critical discussion of the relevance of the identified impact (quality and quantity) for the new or planned RI, considering the different framework conditions for impact creation as compared to the reference facility. Also the selection of the reference facility must be motivated.


  • Identify and select suitable reference facilities
  • Identify and select suitable data sources and data collection methods
  • For each of the selected data collection methods gather information about the SE impacts of the selected reference laboratory from the available data sources. For this purpose apply the procedure as described in the relevant method fiche.
  • Evaluate, in how far the identified impacts of the reference facility can also be achieved by the studied RI, considering differences between the two facilities, concerning in particular externalities (e.g. regional framework conditions) and internalities (e.g. human and financial resources or management strategies).
  • Report the results.

Data sources:

  • Analysis of documents, websites, and internal databases from reference facilities (e.g. annual reports, financial documents, publication databases, user databases, events announced on website, ...)
  • Analysis of SE impact studies of reference facilities
  • Expert interviews with managers of reference facilities
  • Bibliometric studies of reference facilities (publications, patents)

Reference laboratory refers to operating facilities comparable to the new RI with respect to a specific indicator. The analysis of data from such facilities may give hints about what can be expected from the new RI.