RCUK launches new system for logging research ‘impact’

A new web system has been launched which aims to make it easier for academics to detail the impact of their work.

November 26, 2011

The Research Outcomes System, developed by Research Councils UK, will allow scholars to record research outcomes at any time during or after the grant period, which RCUK has said will make the process more straightforward for researchers.

All academics who have won grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council or Economic and Social Research Council since April 2006 will be required to use the system to detail to outcomes of their research.

The Medical Research Council, Science and Technology Facilities Council and Natural Environment Research Council will continue to use their own systems for the time being.

Sue Smart, chair of the RCUK Research Outcomes Project, said that the system would help academics demonstrate the economic and societal benefits of their research.

“The research councils recognise that the outcomes and impacts of research are often realised some time after the end of a research grant,” she said.

“This is why the Research Outcomes System has been developed to allow research outcomes information to be provided on an ongoing basis.”

Work is also underway on a further RCUK project with Jisc, which is scoping out the issues and requirements from universities, funders and researchers with a view to providing guidance on recording and sharing information on research outputs.

Neil Jacobs, director of Jisc’s digital infrastructure programme, said: “The UK research community punches well above its weight in terms of the quality and quantity of research outputs. However, these are not systematically recorded, so it can be hard to demonstrate that impact. Researchers, universities and funders have a common interest in ensuring that the outputs from UK research are visible, and that this is achieved without putting undue burden on the sector.”


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