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From Arts to Zoology - RCUK Research Outcomes collection goes live

Research Councils UK (RCUK) are the first research funders in Europe to implement a single system for gathering details of research outcomes across all research disciplines.  The harmonised approach launches today, with 30,000 RCUK funded researchers being invited to register with the new system over the coming weeks.

The Research Councils are now using Researchfish to collect structured information on the outcomes from all Research Council funded projects. Grant holders can highlight their achievements and, in turn, RCUK can use this information to better understand the impact of research funding, and strengthen the evidence base for research investment in the future.
Work to adapt Researchfish to include all research disciplines has proceeded rapidly, and the launch of the system for all RCUK funded researchers, ready for collection of outcome information in the Autumn, was completed on schedule.

Ian Lyne, from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, who is leading the cross-Council project, said: “Harmonising on a single system was an obvious step, but the Research Councils have also harmonised the framework for information across the full spectrum of academic disciplines, from the arts to zoology.  This is a significant achievement by the Councils – and a European, if not global, first.”

Frances Buck, Director of Researchfish, said: “We were delighted to be selected by the Research Councils as the provider of their research outcomes collection system, and pleased that development of the system has proceeded so well.”

During 2015 RCUK will be working with Researchfish Ltd, and their User Group, to for greater efficiency in the national collection of information on the quality of UK research.  This will include developing and implementing options of interoperability with the current research information systems used by Research Organisations (ROs).

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Further information

Nicholas Turner
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Nicholas Turner

Notes to editors

1. The Researchfish system is a research outcomes collection system used by more than 80 other funders.  See:
2. The Common Question Set for collecting research outcomes information is available on the Researchfish website in xml form and can be freely used by other organisations or systems developers.  Where Research Councils have additional specific questions these are listed on the RCUK website here:
3. Previously researchers funded by AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC and NERC returned information via a system called ROS (Research Outcomes System); researchers funded by STFC and MRC returned information via Researchfish; and some multi-disciplinary researchers would have had to use both.  
4. Around a quarter of a million records have been migrated from the ROS system into Researchfish, and this included:
Over 155,000 publication entries
Over 900 subsequent awards and other marks of esteem
Over 1200 research databases and models made available to other researchers.
Over 6,000 records of further funding achieved to take the research further
Over 37,000 entries relating to public engagement and other public dissemination of the research findings.
Over 1400 records of intellectual property, 100 spin outs, and 900 entries relating to influence on public policy.
5. The move to use electronic systems, rather than final reports, for collecting information on the outcomes of Research Council funded projects followed the 2007 review on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Peer Review: 
6. Information submitted by grant holders is made available through the RCUK Gateway to Research portal: 

7. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
Medical Research Council (MRC);
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

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