History of the HRCS

The Uk Health Research Analyses 2004-2014

One of the main aims when the UKCRC Partnership was established was to develop a coordinated approach to health research funding. It was agreed that the first step should be the creation of a national picture of UK health research. The first UK Health Research Analysis (2004/05), a major project which was unique in the global context, was the result of this agreement and published in 2006. It was followed by an analysis of additional charity funded health research From Donation To Innovation (2004/05) published in 2007.

The second in this landscaping series, the UK Health Research Analysis 2009/10 was published in 2012. This report identified some significant changes in the UK health research landscape in the five years since the original national analysis. The third report in this series, the UK Health Research Analysis 2014, was published in August 2015. This provided a ten year timeline of UK health research funding in the public and charitable sector.

The Health Research Classification System (HRCS)

To enable these analyses, the HRCS was developed collaboratively in 2004 by the original 11 participating funding organisations. The system was developed after assessing existing classification systems and consultation with UKCRC Partners to ascertain the full breadth of the biomedical and health research portfolios to be analysed.

The HRCS builds on the WHO International Classification of Diseases and a cancer-based system (the Common Scientific Outline) but its breadth of coverage across all types of research and areas of health and disease is unique.

During and subsequent to its development, the HRCS has been used to classify many thousands of research awards covering the full spectrum of health research funding. The system has now been widely adopted by UK research funders to inform research management and to undertake prospective analyses. Several international funding organisations are now successfully using the system.