A £1 million agreement between the UK’s Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and associated online facility Researchfish will broaden the scope for medical research funders to track the impact of their investments.

Under the agreement, funds will be made available to eligible charities – AMRC members with an annual research spend of up to £25 million – so that they can use the Researchfish system free of charge.

Researchfish was developed from the MRC’s e-Val system, an online survey used to gather data about the outputs and outcomes of MRC-funded research.

The Researchfish facility enables researchers easily to log the outcomes of their efforts, allowing research funders in turn to track the impact of their investments.  

The platform is currently used by 17 funding organisations, including eleven AMRC member charities. Typically, research funders pay a subscription to Researchfish based on the amount of funding tracked.

Research effectiveness

The agreement between the AMRC, the MRC and Researchfish “opens up the opportunity for medical research charities to collect information about the outcomes and impact of the research they fund, regardless of their size”, the MRC noted.

This will not only help charities assess how effective their research strategies are, informing future funding decisions, but will help them demonstrate to donors the public benefit their contributions deliver, the Council added.

Moreover, if the system is adopted consistently across the sector, funders and charities will be able to “track the complex pathway of research from lab bench to bedside, at the click of a button, and gain access to far more detailed information about the interactivity of funders in the UK”, the MRC pointed out.  

“By sharing investment and impact data across the sector, our member charities will better understand where they have the greatest impact,” commented AMRC chief executive Sharmila Nebhrajani.

“And we can all use the unique evidence this generates to help us to identify the importance of collaboration with public and commercial funders, to increase the value of each research pound and so deliver the greatest improvements in medical research.”