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Compliance and responsibilities


It is extremely important for the Research Councils to understand the effectiveness of their funding.

Up-to-date and complete information is essential to enable the Research Councils to report back authoritatively to Government on the outcomes of the research they fund, and thus demonstrate the value of the public investment that has been made.

Sanctions Policy

  • Research Councils have agreed a harmonised policy regarding the responsibilities of researchers to complete a researchfish return, as part of the standard terms and conditions of holding an award.
  • All Research Councils have now  implemented the terms of this policy and will remove eligibility for funding from researchers that are not compliant.
  • All Councils will implement the policy from 2015.

The harmonised cross-Council Sanctions Policy is available here .

From 2015, sanctions will apply to RCUK-funded researchers who do not make a submission each year during the data submission period, even if this is a nil-submission (e.g. because it is too early for any outcomes to have emerged from the research yet).


Please note that all current Je-S registered students are included researchfish now. The details of students related to RCUK  grants have been taken from the Je-S student data portal. Students are asked to complete their return themselves as it is their data and they will therefore need to submit it themselves. However, please note a sanctions policy for students has not been agreed and no sanctions will be applied to students this year.


As part of the terms and conditions of accepting funding from the Research Councils, submissions are expected annually, even if there are no outcomes to report. In some circumstances, of course, this will not be possible, e.g. PI on maternity leave, long term sick leave, etc. PIs have a responsibility to keep their RO informed of changing situations. ROs are responsible for confirming to the Councils which awards to expect submissions from on an annual basis.

What Do We Do With The Data?

Submitted outcomes data is analysed and used to report to Government on the impact of public investment in research. The annual submission exercise enables RCs to draw on the most up-to-date information for impact reports to the Government in the Autumn of each year.  We also use the information provided by award-holders in briefings and information requests for Parliament as well as major strategic partners.

It is vital that award holders return information to us on the outcomes from their projects, so that we can understand the impact research is having in the longer term, demonstrating the contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people, and the progress being made. In turn this will facilitate strategic decision making and investment. Research outcomes provide a strong evidence base to support the continued funding of research in the UK.

Information returned to the Research Councils through Researchfish is made available through the Gateway to Research, thereby raising the visibility of an individual’s research to the public and potential collaborators.


  • Research Councils have responsibility for reporting to Government and to the public the impact and outcome of publicly funded research.
  • PIs have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the Principles of Use, noting in particular the automatic publication of their submitted data (e.g. GtR).
  • PIs are required to complete a submission as part of the terms and conditions of holding a grant from RCUK.
  • In this initial period, PIs have responsibility to check and submit data migrated into the new researchfish data model.
  • PIs must keep their research organisation informed of changes in circumstances that may prevent annual submission of an outcome.
  • Research Organisations have to demonstrate value obtained from investment of public money in research.
  • Research Organisations have a responsibility to confirm annually with the Research Councils which grants are expected to complete an annual outcomes submission and for ensuring compliance of grant holders at their organisation.
  • Researchfish Ltd have a responsibility to provide the service and to provide training and support to PIs in using the researchfish system.
  • All have responsibility to work together to help build collaborative services around research information management*

*RCUK acknowledges the hard work already put in to this end by many Research Organisations and PIs

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