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UKCRC Health Research Classification System

Additional resources

This page provides links to a number of external reports and databases which are of relevance to those using the HRCS, analysing portfolios of research data or interested in the landscape of medical research in the UK and globally. This includes the “Medical Research: What’s it worth?” report series, alongside international research award databases for the WHO Global Observatory and World RePORT.

As resource for others, if you have other examples that would be helpful to fellow researchers you would like to see included here, please contact us so we can include them.


Medical research: what’s it worth? – the economic benefits of medical research

From 2008 to 2018, a series of academic studies were published estimating the economic benefits of medical research. The first report, commissioned by the UK Evaluation Forum (MRC, Wellcome Trust and Academy of Medical Sciences), was published in 2008 and investigated the return on investment for cardiovascular and mental health research spending[1]. The second in the series – on cancer research – was published in 2014[2] and concluded with a third on musculoskeletal research in 2018[3]. All three reports were a collaboration between three academic/commercial partners; Policy Institute at King’s College London, RAND Europe, and the Health Economics Research Group at Brunel University London. In addition, a companion paper from the same researchers (alongside colleagues in the Department of Economics, University of York) published in 2016 and sought to assess the ‘spillover’ benefits of medical research to the UK economy[4].

The combined results provided a estimated rate of return for improved health outcomes in cardiovascular, cancer, mental health and musculoskeletal of between 7% and 10%. When included with the ~17% return for the broader economic or ‘spillover’ impact the rate of return rises to between 24% and 27%. In other words, for every pound invested in medical research the estimated return to the economy is between 24 and 27 pence, per annum, in perpetuity.

The above chart comes from a briefing document – produced by the supporting funding organisations – which summarises the results from all four reports.

 

[1]Health Economics Research Group et al. Medical Research: What’s it worth? Estimating the economic benefits from medical research in the UK. London: UK Evaluation Forum; 2008.
[2]Glover M. et al. Estimating the returns to UK publicly funded cancer-related research in terms of the net value of improved health outcomes. BMC Med. 2014;12:99
[3]Glover M. et al. Estimating the returns to UK publicly funded musculoskeletal disease research in terms of net value of improved health outcomes. Health Res Policy Syst. 2018.
[4]Sussex J. Quantifying the economic impact of government and charity funding of medical research on private research and development funding in the United Kingdom. BMC Med. 2016;14:32.


WHO Global Observatory

World Health Organisation Global Observatory of Health R&D is a centralised and comprehensive source of information and analyses on global health R&D activities for human diseases. It builds on existing data and reports from a wide range of data sources, and gathers new information (where needed and feasbile) with the aim of enabling decisions on priorities in R&D.


World RePORT

World RePORT is an open-access, interactive mapping database project highlighting biomedical research investments and partnerships from some of the world’s largest funding organisations. An initial effort was undertaken by of the Heads of International Research Organizations (HIROs), and focused on research performed in Sub-Saharan Africa using data supplied by members.

While the investments made in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) remain the focus of World RePORT, the effort was expanded in 2015 to provide a global view of directly funded research grants, and indirectly funded research collaborations in all LMICs. Data is collated on an annual basis, with the latest dataset of 2018 awards released in September 2019.


Proposal for a narrative/qualitative submission

As we’re approaching a much larger range of funders for this new report, many of whom do not fund research in the traditional sense, we find that many do not have information that can be easily quantified or incorporated into our analysis. While our primary aim is to produce a quantitative analysis of health research funding, and we are seeking this submission type where possible, we equally would like to acknowledge this broader contribution by other funding organisations. Therefore we are now offering the option of an alternative, narrative / qualitative submission. The aim of this is to still capture how the organisation fits into the wider research environment, even if this contribution and/or its relevancy to health is un-quantifiable.

Essentially we’re seeking a few short paragraphs using the rough structure below:

  • Who you are / what you do – a one or two sentence introduction to your organisation and its main aims/purpose.
  • How the organisation funds/conducts research – this is essentially some background explaining how and why you fund/conduct research e.g.  if there are dedicated budgets, on an ‘as needed’ basis, in house / commissioned externally.
  • Comment on how this relates to health – this can be case studies but it would be good to get a feel your organisations broader contribution to the health research environment, such as key topics that your organisation needs further insight on.
  • Facts and Figures – If there are any figures or approximations you can make (ideally on your research in general, but focus on the health-relevant aspects is better), that would be fantastic… but we appreciate this may be difficult. Even a simple total research budget or count of research projects may help put your work in some context. Note this would still need to be relevant to the timescale for the report, i.e. funded or active in calendar year 2018.
  • Data notes – if you are submitting data for the analysis, can can include any notes on methodology or caveats you wish made clear (see ‘approach to coding’ information below).

As this is a new proposal for the 2018 report, we don’t have previous examples of a qualitative submission per se. However if you look at our previous report from 2014 you’ll find the ‘approach to coding’ explanatory text provided by each participating funder, which may be of some help to you. You’ll find them in Appendix 1, pages 64-71.

Please note that if you are able to provide some quantifiable detail, we could look to include some financial figures in our ‘Indirect Assessment’. This brings together both infrastructure/supportive funding with further unclassified research expenditure from all participating funders. You’ll find this section on page 21 of the 2014 report, with raw aggregate data on page 75. This is not mandatory, you can provide an entirely qualitative submission if you prefer, but the more detail we can get the better.

This proposal represents the suggested framework for a qualitative submission; the precise content itself is entirely up to you. If you have any further queries, please contact the project management team.

Principles of data use

It is our intention for the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 will use the principles defined in the previous report (2014) regarding data ownership and management. These are:

  • Data collected in the course of this work is owned by the organisations funding the research and are held in confidence by the MRC, part of UKRI, on behalf of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.
  • Data owners agree to allow data sets to be made available online to facilitate further analysis (see our Submission Guidance for specific details).
  • Further details of individual awards will not be circulated or published without agreement from the participating organisations.
  • Any further analyses must be fully acknowledged and cited to the UKCRC (see below).
  • Any further analyses abide by the HRCS conditions of use (see below).

By submitting data for this report, organisations will be agreeing to these underlying principles of data publicity.

In addition, we have prepared a longer explanation of why we ask for award data to be made public, which can be found within our FAQ page. In addition, we explain the uses of each data field we ask for as part of the submission guidance.

Acknowledging use of this data

As with all previous HRCS reports, this data is made available on the condition that the UKCRC is acknowledged in any publication using the citation “Data taken from the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 (UK Clinical Research Collaboration, 2020) ISBN 978-0-903730-29-7 https://hrcsonline.net/reports/analysis-reports/uk-health-research-analysis-2018/”.

The UK charity and public sector funding organisations that provided this data are interested in any work which makes use of the information. This feedback will be helpful in making the case to continue to compile data. You can let the UKCRC know that you are using the data via the HRCS website.

 

HRCS: Conditions of use

The Health Research Classification System itself is open source. You are free to use and distribute the HRCS but you should not alter it or use it for commercial benefit.

Accordingly, all content on the HRCS website, including supporting documentation, is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales Licence.

 

The MRC and information requests

It is important for all participatory organisations to take note that this project is coordinated and managed by the MRC. As such, the project falls under the same data principles as other MRC work. Please note the data ownership is retained by the funding organisation that provided it.

All information managed by the MRC and the other research councils are kept in line with the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018. As a public body the MRC, as part of UKRI, is also subject to the Freedom of Information Act (2000). Should we receive any requests for information relating to the HRCS project which are not already publicly available, the MRC will aim to consult with the data owners as soon as possible when considering how to respond. The MRC will never publicise data that is owned by another organisation without that organisation’s approval. Please see this website’s data protection page for more details.

The MRC has a policy of publication of all MRC awards via Gateway to Research, which includes award details such as PI names, organisations, abstracts, values and outcomes. In addition, as with other large funders, the MRC links its award funding with publications via Europe PubMed Central. Further details of these two methods of publication are available in Annex 1. Please note this relates to MRC awards only, and it is not our intention to publish other funders awards in this manner. This information is included here to as an example of how award information enters the public domain.

 

Annex 1 – Gateway to Research and Europe PubMed Central

Publishing information in the UKRI Gateway to Research

The UKRI Gateway to Research provides access to information on all UKRI funded awards, this includes:

  1. the names of the investigators and research organisations
  2. the project tile, abstracts and technical summary (where available), impact summary
  3. the total value and duration of the award(s)
  4. outcomes and publications

The gateway is open for anyone to search, download and use data in line with the Open Government Licence v2.0, except where otherwise stated. See the pages on data and the data dictionary for further information on output data made available via the gateway.

Sharing links with Europe PubMed Central

Europe PubMed Central is a stable, permanent and free-to-access digital archive of the full text, peer-reviewed research publications (and datasets) that arise from research funded by the MRC, the Wellcome Trust and other members of the Europe PMC Funders Group.

Links between publications and UKRI funding will be shared across the Europe PubMed Central and Researchfish datasets to reduce duplicate requests to researchers and duplicate reporting.

Information on publications submitted to Researchfish may be copied into Europe PubMed Central and links established in Europe PubMed Central or extracted from publication acknowledgements may be copied into Researchfish.

Contents

  • Introduction – The context of the 2018 analysis submission documentation
  • Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria – The main criteria for the analysis
  • Data Extraction – Some general advice for exporting/extracting award data
  • Column Headings – A more detailed explanation for the data fields required for the analysis
  • Data Submission – The process by which submissions for the analysis are made
  • Data Dictionary – a tabulated summary of the data fields including whether fields are mandatory and/or publicly available

 

Introduction

This document provides the guidance to submit award data for the fourth UK Health Research Analysis, which has provided a regular report on the funding landscape for biomedical research since 2004.

To allow for a shared protocol for data collection across many different funding organisations, the essential award data is kept to a minimum. Additional, non-mandatory data can be provided which enhances the final dataset. Further details about the use and analysis of the data is found within the accompanying HRCS FAQ document (2018).

 

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

The basic criteria

The basic requirements for inclusion remain the same as previous reports:

  • Research is funded by a participating organisation
  • Research is of health or biomedical relevance

 The awards included in this analysis must be active (i.e. incurring spend) in the 2018 calendar year (01/01/2018 to 31/12/2018).

All award types are eligible for inclusion, including research grants, training awards, intramural support for units, centres or institutes, contracted research assessments and any other funding which goes towards the support of biomedically-relevant research.

Submission

We ask for a range of information on each award submitted, to allow us to classify and assess the data for the analysis. Full details of these data requirements are below. Submission of data is by a standardised excel spreadsheet, sent to the MRC project management team (ideally via secure FTP, including OneDrive).

 

Awards for analysis versus ‘indirect awards’

This analysis focuses on the directly funded (usually peer reviewed) UK research of the participating funders. In practice this is generally any award that directly supports a specific project or programme with a defined set of research goals, normally awarded as part of peer-review led process. We would expect all such awards to be fully coded/code-able under HRCS.

However there are a number of elements of funding that are essential to support research activity. For projects or programme awards the costs to support them may be built into the financing of the awards, as contributions to full economic costings. They may also be made by other types of awards which support the indirect costs of conducting research. These indirect costs can be supported through funders providing additional awards to fund infrastructure, administration, equipment, building maintenance, conferences or even salaries. Such awards are invariably hard, or even impossible, to HRCS code but still provide a vital part of the funding landscape.

We are not interested in breaking direct awards down into financial contributions within an individual award, but we would like to collect information on those other awards that fall outside the traditional project or programme format for funding. As part of the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 report, we will be carrying out a separate assessment on the level of investment in indirect costs. Therefore it is important that ALL awards, whether direct or indirect, are part of the data submission you provide us.

 

Defining Indirect Awards

Following the successful introduction in 2014, we have developed a submission process to better define what “indirect funding” is and how to assess it. Therefore if you have indirect/infrastructure awards in the dataset you provide us, we would like to be able to classify them more easily.

We have therefore included the IndirectAward column to identify those awards that fall into the areas of Infrastructure, Studentships or Personal health research related funding, or cannot be coded (Incomplete/Missing or Non-health Research).

This is the only column which may need to be filled in manually. Everything else should be relatively simply transferred from a funder’s own records to this excel format.

Further information on this can be found in the IndirectAward data field notes below. If you are still unsure about how to categorise an award, please contact the HRCS Project Management Team via the HRCS website.

 

Advice on data extraction

Each funder will have a different method of award portfolio management and therefore different methods of data export. Therefore we will be asking each funder to provide a short description of their coding approach and participation in the analysis. This format matches the 2014 report’s Appendix 1, and we strongly recommend funders familiarise themselves with their previous method of submission as this may help with funder-specific queries:

  • Format is the standard “one line per grant” data entry excel spreadsheet.
  • Please do not apply ‘wrap text’ to any columns in the spreadsheet. This may be helpful to you if you are looking at a small/subset of awards, but in a spreadsheet of thousands, it does not help the analysis.
  • Please note we are not expecting those submitting the data to spend endless hours filling in all empty fields, especially if the field is not a mandatory requirement. If a required field (e.g. PIMiddleName) has data missing on your database, do not worry. We are asking for as complete a submission as possible, but do not intend to create hours of work for those doing so.
  • Given the data collection is open for several months, starting in the end of the reporting period of 2018 we are happy to accept data that is ready to export as a ‘work in progress’ (WiP) dataset. We can then append any additional awards you wish to add before the data collection deadline of the 31st of March 2019.

 

Data Export Column Headings and Descriptions

Please note that while the data fields required may seem lengthy, but it’s important to remember that submission of these details are designed to be the minimum required to ensure we have enough data to perform the analysis. The requirements are largely unchanged from data collected for previous HRCS analyses.

 

FunderOrganisation, FunderAcronym and OrganisationReference

With the exception of AMRC, all funders submitting data should be from a single organisation. Therefore your funder name and acronym (if your funder has one) should be the same for all award lines.

The OrganisationReference is the unique identifier you use to track the award in question. This is more commonly known as the ‘grant code’, ‘grant ID’ or ‘award#’ depending on your organisation. If there are several variants used by your organisation, please provide the OrganisationReference which matches those submitted to public datasets. This will allow easier matching when cross-referencing our data to external datasets, such as Europe PubMed Central or Dimensions, to allow us to complete the analysis. It also allows for further projects using this data that the grant reference links to, such as publications, patents or clinical trials.

Note that as many funders have similar methods for applying IDs (such as using dates or numerals) we will also give a unique HRCS2018_ID to all awards once the final analysis dataset has been collated. This allows easier handling of combined data and prevents confusion if two independent funders have similar or even matching ‘unique’ OrganisationReferences.

 

PI Details; Title, Name, Address, etc.

These Title/Name details for the awards Principal Investigator (PI) are required to allow de-duplication and disambiguation screening, such as establishing co-funding between two organisations. Data publicity is discussed at length in both the FAQ and Publicity Statement, but in short the analysis will not include PI name in the publicly available dataset.

PIInstitution, PICity, PIPostCode and PICountry may be used to assess distribution of funds across UK regions, but only PICity and PIInstitution will be in the public dataset.

PIInstitution should also be the overall host organisation. An embedded unit or centre within an Institution would be used as PIAddressLine1. For example, a PI at the MRC Toxicology Unit at the University of Sheffield would have “University of Sheffield” as PIInstitution and “MRC Toxicology Unit” as PIAddressLine1.

 

Funding Mechanism & FundingStream

Establishing the mechanism and stream of funding will be helpful in further HRCS report sub-analysis. However this is not necessarily recorded by all funders, and even if there is such a field available, the definitions used may not be the same from one funder to another. As such, neither is a mandatory data field. If they are available in your database, please include them. If not, move on.

 

StartDate, EndDate, Duration

Both start and end dates should be in standard DD/MM/YYYY format. Exporting of dates can lead to errors, particularly if converted from text so please check your submission before sending. We’d also recommend that if you publish data elsewhere that the dates you use match those already published. Using a different date (actual vs expected vs proposed) could lead to discrepancies in the comparative assessments we perform.

Duration needs to be in days and expressed as an integer, which we will calculate based on the start/end date difference. This also helps us identify errors and anomalies. You’d be surprised how often end dates can erroneously appear before start dates!

Providing these three date criteria allows us to calculate a 2018 award amount, based on the dates/duration and TotalAward value. Other date formats could be supplied by arrangement, but this is our preference.

 

TotalAward / AnnualAward

We ask all funders to provide one of two values for their awards:

  • TotalAward – the total value of the award for its complete duration. This is our preferred value for consistency when analysing award values across different funders. We would generally recommend either of the following values for this:
    • The final total expenditure if the award has been completed
    • The total commitment (i.e. how much you’re expecting to spend) for awards that are on-going
  • AnnualAward – the per annum value of the award, if the TotalAward value is not available.
    • This would generally be used for longer term investments without a set end or where no overall commitment is available.
    • We would ask for the latest full annual expenditure you have, so we can accept the latest financial year (2017/18) rather than calendar year if this is the only option.
  • Please note this is an either/or option. Please do not supply an award value in both Total and Annual formats.
  • We then use the values provided to determine the allocated value for the period the award was active in 2018.
  • Please note we are not asking for actual, budgeted or estimated spend profiles. This will mean the allocated values will not reconcile to other financial / budgeting reports from participating organisations.
  • Currency is assumed to be pounds sterling.

To calculate the award value specifically for 2018 from the TotalAward value, we use an annualised commitment calculation; this means dividing the total value of the award by the number of days/months it is/was active, then multiply by the number of days/months it is/was active in 2018. This gives a predicted amount of spend. Further details on why we use this method can be found in the accompanying HRCS FAQ document (2018). Submissions of AnnualAward values will use this value as provided (no calculations based on start/end dates).

 

AwardTitle, AwardAbstract, AwardLayAbstract and Keywords

Award Title and Abstract are vitally important if you submit your awards without previous HRCS coding. Without them we will not be able to incorporate your awards into the main analysis. However the subsequent publication of these fields fulfills another key aim of the analysis; to allow subsequent sub-analysis of the dataset, e.g. by keyword search or text mining.

Because of this we ask that if these fields contain sensitive information, such as personal information, details of in vivo experiments, patent details or copyrighted materials  please make this clear in the Comments column. This will ensure the data is anonymised/redacted before it is published.

Please note that AwardAbstract refers to scientific or technical abstracts only. There is also the option for AwardLayAbstracts to be submitted to the analysis, as they do however provide a more user-friendly description of the research. However this format is not be suitable for coding purposes and will only be used if there is no scientific abstract available.

If your organisation’s database includes a column for Keywords, please supply it here. This is non-mandatory as many funders may not have this information available or able to export in this format. However anything that is provided could aid further sub-analysis of the dataset.

 

IndirectAward

As explained earlier, the HRCS Report and Analysis has a primary focus on direct research funding, principally grants with a specific research aim. However a significant proportion of Health Research funding goes towards indirect costs, such as the buildings, administration and personal awards. While many of these can still be used in the main analysis there will be examples where it is more appropriate that they are assessed separately.

To segregate between direct and indirect awards, we are asking funders to fill in this field, IndirectAward, for any awards that fit one of the four criteria listed below. Please use these specific terms in bold (and only these terms) for the following options:

  • <Leave Blank>
    • For all other (mostly direct) awards that have been coded as normal.
  • Infrastructure
    • The award falls into the umbrella term “Infrastructure”. To broadly distinguish from “Personal”, “Infrastructure” awards can be described as those funding a site or group, whether it is in administrative, construction or maintenance. Where possible, you must also use the “Comment” to add further details.
    • Examples of “Infrastructure” awards include:
      • Buildings & equipment (construction, maintenance)
      • ‘Core’ funding (e.g. for MRC units) & other administrative costs
      • co-ordinated ventures like CRNs, Methodology Hubs etc..
      • Awards to support hosting/organising conferences
  • Studentships
    • Several main funders support studentships via block grants to universities, sometimes referred to as Doctoral Training Partnerships or DTPs.
    • These awards usually do not have sufficient granularity to code under HRCS, so to accommodate this method of funding into the analysis, we provide this tag as an option under the IndirectAward criteria.
    • Please note that individual studentship data can also be submitted, although to balance the analysis we would seek to link studentships back to the DTP that funded them to avoid double counting of expenditure.
  • Personal
    • To broadly distinguish from Infrastructure, “Personal” awards are those that are given to an individual for a specific purpose outside of a research project/programme, such as extra training, salary support or conference attendance.
    • Again, any details for this can be included in the “Comment” section.
    • Examples of “Personal” awards include:
      • Travel grants and other awards for conference attendance
      • Bursaries and other awards to support researchers directly
      • Professional membership fees
      • Funding for clinician training, lab visits and secondments
  • Incomplete/Missing
    • There is not enough information to be able to judge what the award is for. E.g. if title/abstract is missing and/or unclear.
    • Again, please include details of why the grant is classified as “Incomplete/Missing” in the “Comments” section.
  • Non-health research
    • The award is definitively not health research related.
    • In most cases, we would not expect to see these awards at all and would be excluded from the analysis.
    • However there may be circumstances where you would like the project team to help determine if an award should be included in your data submission.
    • By adding this marker, and an accompanying “Comment” we will endeavour to assist you with these particularly tricky awards.

 

Comments

Any other comments or caveats relating to a particular grant should be added to the “Comments” column. This includes any explanatory details relating to the IndirectAward options (Infrastructure, Personal etc.) above, or any issues with unusual funding mechanisms.

 

Coding (RA_1 to HC_5%)

Any award with HRCS coding already provided should be submitted as individual columns with accompanying percentages.

Note that for funders new to the analysis, we will ensure your award data is coded for you.

 

Data Submission

Submitting award data to the HRAF (coordinated by the MRC) may require a data transfer agreement (DTA) or similar so please ensure that this has been considered and has been signed off by your organisation before sending your data to us. Our Data Publicity Statement (2018) provides you with the details of what will happen to data submitted to us.

Data should be provided to us via our pro forma spreadsheet. Once your standardised spreadsheet has been populated, you will need to contact the HRCS Project Management Team to arrange for a suitable method for submission. Our preference is via a secure upload to a OneDrive folder only your organisation will have access to. You are welcome to use your own FTP arrangements if you wish.

Once submitted, the team also will conduct some basic validation of the data which may require some additional checking and small tweaks to the dataset. If you have provided a partial submission, you will have until the end of the data collection period to provide any further awards to the analysis. Late submissions may not be accepted if they will delay the final report production.

 

If you have any other problems or queries

We welcome any specific problems or queries you have regarding the data submission and coding process. The more feedback we receive, the better the guidance we can provide, making the report more consistent in how the coding is applied and analysed. Any specific examples will be added to Annex 1 (see below).

For all queries, comments or for general help regarding the HRCS Project, please contact Dr. Jim Carter via the HRCS website.

Thank you for your time.

Dr Jim Carter

Chair of the Health Research Analysis Forum

 

Annex 1 – HRCS 2018 Data Fields List/Dictionary

 

Field Name Purpose Notes/ Advice Required? Public in HRCS Datset?
FundingOrganisation Full name of partner organisation Fixed value for each record Yes Yes
FunderAcronym The acronym by which the funder is known. Only applies to funders with known acronyms No Yes
OrganisationReference

(aka grant/award code/ID)

Internal ID used by partner organisation Must be a unique value for each record. Yes Yes
PITitle Title of the award lead investigator Dr, Professor, Mr, Mrs etc. No No
PIFirstName First name of the award lead investigator Yes No
PIMiddleName Middle name of the award lead investigator Yes No
PISurname Last name of the award lead investigator Yes No
PIInstitution Host institution of the award lead investigator Full institution name (not abbreviation) Yes Yes
PIAddressLine1

(aka department)

First address line of award lead investigator For most researchers this will be their department Yes No
PIAddressLine2 Second address line of award lead investigator Used for disambiguation and data cleaning, not in main analysis No No
PIAddressLine3 Third address line of award lead investigator Used for disambiguation and data cleaning, not in main analysis No No
PICity City of award lead investigator Yes Yes
PIPostcode Postcode of award lead investigator Yes No
PICountry Country of award lead investigator Awards funded outside UK will be analysed separately. Yes No
FundingMechanism Type of award made Name of research programme or funding scheme used by partner organisation e.g. fellowship, project, programme, unit, institute, contracted research assessment No Yes

(if available)

FundingStream Funding stream which supports the award made Name of board, reviewing panel or funding stream under which the award was made No Yes

(if available)

StartDate Award funding start date Date when award spending commences. Preferred format is dd/mm/yyyy. Yes Yes
EndDate Award funding end date Date when award is completed NB StartDate + Duration = EndDate. Preferred format is dd/mm/yyyy. Yes Yes
Duration Duration of awarded funding in days NB StartDate + Duration = EndDate. No – created by central project management team Yes
TotalAward Total funding for duration of award Preferred value for awards, see Guidance/FAQ for details TotalAward or AnnualAward Yes
AnnualAward Amount awarded per annum When TotalAward is unavailable, a per annum value can be used. TotalAward or AnnualAward Yes
AwardTitle[1] Title of the award or abstract The full title of the award Yes Yes[1]
AwardAbstract[2] Scientific abstract or technical summary of the award Usually 200-300 words, provides an overview of the work being undertaken Yes Yes[2]
AwardLayAbstract[2] Lay or public abstract / summary of the award Usually 200-300 words, used to explain the research to the general public. No Yes

(if available)

Keywords Partner specific keyword descriptions e.g.- MeSH keywords No Yes
IndirectAward To segregate out those awards not easily classified/ coded. Options are:
*<leaveblank>
*Infrastructure
* Studentships
*Personal
*Missing/ Incomplete
*Non-Health Research
Yes Yes
Comment Include any additional explanatory text here Leave blank if no issues with award or coding. Yes No
RA_1 to RA_4 Text columns for HRCS Research Activity Codes Most awards have one or two RA codes, max is four. Yes Yes
RA_1% to RA_4% Corresponding percentages for the HRCS Research Activity Codes Usually they are equally apportioned and must add up to 100% Yes Yes
HC_1 to HC_5 Text columns for HRCS Health Categories Up to a maximum of five health categories Yes Yes
HC_1% to HC_5% Corresponding percentages for the HRCS Health Categories Usually they are equally apportioned and must add up to 100% Yes Yes
HRCS2018_ID A unique identifier created for this project Created by the project team once all awards are submitted. Allows for differentiation of identical / very similar Organisation References used by different funders. No – created by central project management team Yes

 

[1] Award Title and Abstract need to be made public to allow sub-analysis of the dataset, e.g. by keyword search. However, if these fields contain sensitive information, such as details of in vivo experiments, patent details or copyrighted materials, we will ensure the data is anonymised.

[2] Please note that lay abstracts will not be suitable for coding purposes unless there is no scientific abstract available.

Introduction

This document is intended to explain or to help clarify some of the key areas of the HRCS and the planning for the production of the 2018 report. It acts as a companion to the main Submission Guidance and is subdivided into five main sections:

  1. The Basics – which provides information on the UKCRC, HRAF and background to the report series
  2. Participation – some further explanation for our aims and how to take part in the report, including reference to how and why we make data public.
  3. The Coding – more details on how awards can / should be coded.
  4. Complex Awards – common questions regarding how to report on awards that are more complicated (e.g. extensions, block grants and co-funding).
  5. Data Specifics – answers common questions about some of the requested data fields.

If there are additional questions arising as the project begins, this will be added to the document and displayed via the HRCS website.

This FAQ has been produced by the HRCS Project Management Team and approved by the HRAF. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.

 

The Basics

Who are the UKCRC and what is the HRCS?

The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) is a group of representatives from the major public, industry and charitable funders of UK Health Research. Its role is to co-ordinate strategic approaches to clinical research to benefit patients, researchers and the nation. In 2004, the UKCRC established the bespoke Health Research Classification System (HRCS) to categorise all types of health research across all disease and areas of health. More information is available on the UKCRC website and HRCS website.

 

Who are the HRAF?

The UKCRC Health Research Analysis Forum (HRAF) is a group of representatives from the 12 largest funders of public and charitable health research and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), representing over 140 medical research charities. The forum was established in 2009 to take over the maintenance and development of the HRCS. This includes the co-ordination and production of the nationwide reporting; the UK Health Research Analysis series.

 

What is the UK Health Research Analysis 2018?

The 2018 report will be the fourth in a series of reports on health research funding in the UK begun in 2004. These UK Health Research Analyses (often referred to informally as ‘HRCS Reports’) have been used extensively by the participant organisations, UK Government and stakeholders in biomedical research. More information on the HRCS Reports and their wider use is on the reports section of our website.

 

Participating in the UK Health Research Analyses

I/My organisation have not been in previous HRCS reports. Why am I being asked to be involved?

Since the first report in 2004, the use of HRCS coding has become a routine procedure for many biomedical funders and each report has widened the participation to provide a more comprehensive picture of biomedical funding across the UK. Our aim for the 2018 report is to make this the most complete analysis of the UK health research to date, which includes contacting more funders than we ever have before. This includes additional AMRC members as well as other Government and not-for-profit funders whose portfolio may include funding for health R&D alongside other disciplines.

In addition, and only if historical data is available, you would be welcome to submit award data for the previous reporting periods (2014, 2009/10 and 2004/05). This is entirely optional but would allow us to perform the same trends-over-time assessment as those funders who have been part of the previous UK Health Research Analysis reports.

 

What does participation in the 2018 report involve?

To be part of the analysis, all we will need you to provide details of the health-relevant awards, grants or projects you funded that were/are active in the calendar year 2018 (01/01/18 to 31/12/18). Full details of the data requirements and inclusion criteria can be found on our accompanying Submission Guidance.

Please note that how each funder defines ‘health relevant’ varies so we ask that each organisation provides us with a short descriptive explanation for how data was chosen and collated. Examples of this can be found in Annex 1 of the last report (2014).

 

I/My organisation does not provide traditional awards/grants, but we do support research by other means (e.g. commissioned research). How should we report these sources of funding?

To ensure as complete a picture of health-relevant research as possible, all types of funding can be submitted; the precise mechanism / type of funding is not too important. All we require is the minimum data fields (see below) including a value (e.g. contract amount), dates/duration of the work (that meets the active in 2018 inclusion criteria), and a description (e.g. tender specification) to allow coding. In addition, there are some (non-mandatory) columns where you can provide further details on funding mechanism if you would like to provide them.

 

I/My organisation is not a dedicated health funder. How do we determine which awards are health relevant for this analysis?

As we expand the analysis to include more research funding organisations this will include a greater proportion where health or medicine is not a primary topic for funding. This analysis series has, from the outset, included research council data from other disciplines such as engineering, physics, biology, economics and sociology.

Determining what is ‘health relevant’ is a considerable undertaking and there are no set criteria for this analysis. However, as with HRCS coding in general, we would look for any type of funding for research where health is a consideration, either as an indicator or direct outcome of the project (e.g. impact of pollutants on disease). We would generally exclude funding for topics where the health component is only implied or a long-term consideration (e.g. climate change will have eventual health impacts, but not all climate change research would be considered health relevant).

In practical terms, we can accept any award information you consider health relevant. If there are no pre-existing criteria you can use to help with this, the project management team can help guide you determine health relevance should you need it. To be included into the main analysis will require some post-submission assessment and classification of award data under the HRCS, so please note that some data submitted may eventually be excluded or analysed separately. However this is an iterative process and the project management team will happy to work with you during this data cleaning period.

 

I/My organisation is not a dedicated research funder. Can we still participate?

The focus of this analysis is on research funding, so awards that fund healthcare services or support groups would not normal be included (else we’d also include the entire NHS budget). What we are looking for is funding that asks a question or poses a theory and seeks to answer it. So any comparison, trial or assessment of services, interventions or methodologies would all be considered research here, even if they fall outside the realms of academia.

As with the decision of what is health relevant above, we happy to work with participating funders to determine how best to approach this with each organisation individually.

 

What data fields are required for submission?

The list of data fields required alongside a full explanation for each field can be found in the accompanying Submission Guidance. A quick reference data dictionary is also available.

 

What if my organisation does not record the data required for this analysis?

To be included in the main analysis requires sufficient detail (e.g. start/end dates, value, titles and abstracts or equivalent project summaries) to allow the funded research to be classified using the Health Research Classification System (HRCS), the bespoke coding system developed for these nationwide landscaping analyses. However if such data is unavailable, we can incorporate qualitative/narrative submissions and/or aggregate-level data on health-relevant expenditure into our broader analysis of health R&D funding. Absence of coding or code-able data does not prevent inclusion in this assessment. Please get in touch with the project management team for more details of this process.

 

What about data publicity? Who will be able to see the final data?

The short explanation is that one of the key aims of this analysis is to produce a dataset for further, more nuanced onward analyses. Therefore, as with previous reports, the final dataset (a spreadsheet of each award included in the analysis) will be made publicly available via the data pages of the HRCS website. We have prepared a Data Publicity Statement which provides a more detailed explanation of the data protection and conditions of use for the data. Our Submission Guidance section also aims to explain why we collect certain data fields.

The longer answer is that as more and more data on awards have become publicly available the UK Health Research Analyses data has kept track with the consensus regarding data availability, with progressively more of the core data collected being made publicly available.

Many funders have already begun this process of data transparency. UKRI make all awards available via Gateway to Research (https://gtr.ukri.org/ ). In addition, many public sector organisations and charities also make their own awards available, either via their own websites or through centralised databases such as EuroPubMed, WHO’s Global Observatory or NIH’s World RePORT. This includes greater levels of detail, including award values, grant codes, titles and abstracts.

From a data analysis perspective, there are distinct benefits to having a greater amount of data publicly available, as it allows for further analysis of awards. For example, a sub group analysis of mental health funding specifically for ‘depression’ can be achieved using keywords, data-mining or related machine learning techniques. An excellent example of the further use of the last report’s data (2014) is Marie Curie’s analysis of palliative care in the UK. In conclusion, a publicly accessible dataset would allow the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 to become an even more valuable resource beyond its original intended purpose.

Therefore in keeping with most participating funders’ support for open accessibility of data, and the potential post-analysis benefits of doing so, our aim is to make final data, including grant codes, titles and abstracts, publicly available. However please note that this does not include every data field. The Data Dictionary in the submission guidance includes a column to show which fields will be included in the publicly available final version.

There will be an option for specific exceptions where funders have reasons to exclude details – e.g. where awards identify personal details (e.g. salaries), contain confidential details (e.g. patent details) or there are concerns about the safety of researchers (e.g. highly detailed in vivo experiments).

If you have concerns regarding data publicity, please contact the HRCS Project Management Team via the HRCS website.

 

What is the timeline for the project?

Formal data collection begins on the 2nd of January 2019 with the aim to capture all the currently available awards. This ensures the ‘final’ dataset needs to be provided by the 31st of March 2019 and will contain the remaining awards not included in any WIP datasets (e.g. awards activated later in 2018 which were not ready for submission). Data analysis will continue through April, with the draft report going to the UKCRC board at the beginning of May 2019. Our aim is to have a final published version available in June 2019.

 

Isn’t collecting data in Jan/Feb 2019 on awards made in 2018 too soon?

We are aware that award management systems do have a degree of lag time between an award being agreed in principle and it appearing in databases. This can mean awards made late in 2018 may not be available for extraction for a few days, weeks or even months.

However our inclusion criteria for this project states we are looking for awards ‘active’ in 2018. By this we generally mean awards incurring spend in 2018, meaning the award itself has already passed a series of administrative hurdles and funding is either ready to be or has been transferred from you, the funder, to the awardee. The precise definition of ‘active’ will vary as funders record spend in a variety of ways, but so long

 

How do we submit data?

Data submissions are achieved via our Standardised Excel Spreadsheet (2018). Once completed, you will need to contact the HRCS project management team to arrange for secure transfer of your dataset. Our preferred method is via upload to a folder on OneDrive only your organisation (and the project management team) has access to. Further advice on the process of data extraction can be found in our Submission Guidance.

 

Do we require a data transfer agreement to send you our data?

Our Data Publicity Statement provides some basic information on what we can/cannot do with any data you provide to us. If you require us, i.e. MRC on behalf of UKCRC, to sign a formal data transfer agreement this is absolutely fine so long as it meets our standard requirements for participation.

 

The Coding

How is the award coding being completed?

In most cases, funders have systems in place for coding their awards periodically. However, as we are requesting full award data for the complete 2018 calendar year (01/01/18 to 31/12/18) without much lead time we may need to ‘code as we go’ for the more recent awards. Our estimate for total number of awards that would be eligible from all funders is between 17,000 to 20,000 awards.

 

But how will up to 20,000 awards be coded?

The good news is that the majority of this coding has already been done, as most larger funders code award data routinely. We are advising funders with outstanding coding to ensure their data is coded ahead of the data collection deadline, and there may be additional options for coding. This includes additional training sessions for manual coding, advice on seeking pay-per-award ‘contract’ coding and potential for access to automated HRCS coding. Any awards that remain uncoded can still be included in the wider assessment of total expenditure but can’t be incorporated into the main analysis.

 

I/My organisation is new the HRCS Reports and don’t have any awards HRCS coded. What do we do?

There is very limited central capacity for additional manual coding for this project so, where possible, we would ask any participating funder to provide their submission already coded. However for many organisations this will be difficult and lack of HRCS coding in advance does not prevent you from participating in this analysis (see next FAQ below). If you are able to provide condition yourself, there are some options available to help with this;

  • Training staff in manual coding, which can be provided by the Project Management Team
  • Paying for external manual coding (‘contract coding’)
  • Submitting awards to be auto-coded

Please note we would still ask individual funders to determine which awards are of health relevance, although the central HRCS Project Management Team are happy to help in this process for new funders if required.

 

I/My organisation does not have capacity for HRCS coding, but we would still like to participate. Is this possible?

Of course. Absence of coding or code-able data does not prevent inclusion in the analysis, only how the data is reported. Without coding at a project level it would not be possible to incorporate your data into the main analysis. However we do a separate assessment of the wider funding environment, including support for infrastructure, capacity and other uncoded data sources. The data would be presented as an aggregate figure and would ensure your contribution to the health research environment is included.

 

Complex Awards: Co-funding, block grants and extensions

My organisation has provided funding / is co-funding an award with another organisation. How do we collectively report this?

This will be very dependent on how the collaboration works between your organisations, and how each report the award in their own database.

Ideally, each organisation will report only the amount they have spent, and will record the award with the same details for PI, Title and Abstract. This should ensure both are coded identically.

If the collaboration involves the funders providing different areas of support, then the title/abstract should reflect this and allow coders to provide coders relevant to the areas supported. For example if one funder provides the funding for the research itself, and the other provides funding for equipment of admin, the former would be coded as normal and the latter would likely fall under the IndirectAward category of ‘Infrastructure’.

The problem will be if one funder provides a TotalAward value including the funding from the other, leading to duplication and double counting of award funding. Our aim will be to de-duplicate wherever possible and ensure that only the total award value is distributed appropriately amongst all co-funding organisations.

For this reason, we’d prefer funders to indicate the award is a collaboration in the Comment column, and (if possible) provide their co-funder’s name/acronym and grant number in this section so we can pair up the awards correctly. This is difficult to do, but it would be of huge benefit if achieved.

 

My organisation provides ‘block grants’; awards designed to provide the recipient organisation the flexibility to redistribute funding themselves. Common examples of this include Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) which can fund multiple studentships from a single award. However these awards can come with little, if any, award information with which to HRCS code. What should I do?

In an ideal world the original block grant would be sufficiently focused to allow a ‘best guess’ coding approach. However in reality this is not always possible and in most situations the IndirectAward category should be applied. More details on this categorisation is available via the Submission Guidance. If your organisation has sufficient information on the individual projects funded through the block grant (such as PhD studentship abstracts), you are welcome to submit these instead. Please ensure any such projects have the connection to the main block grant made clear via the Comment column. We shall endeavour to avoid double counting between these ‘child’ projects associated to the main ‘parent’ block grant, but this is best discussed directly with the project management team.

 

How do I handle award extensions?

Sometimes funders provide additional funding to an established award, to extend the duration or provide specific funding for additional resources. In these cases the title/abstract for both original (parent) and extension (child) awards will be the same/very similar. The awards may also be linked in some fashion within a funder’s database (e.g. partially matched grant references).

The optimal method for reporting this is to combine the additional funding to the original award, and apply HRCS coding only once to the combined award. If the further funding changes the lifetime of the award, make sure this is incorporated into your StartDate, EndDate, Duration and TotalAward/AnnualAward values.

If this combined award is too difficult or resource intensive to edit within your portfolio / spreadsheet submission, our main requirement is that both parent and child awards MUST BE coded identically and a note made in the Comment column to indicate that the two awards are linked.

There are two exceptions to these rules:

  • If the additional funding falls into the category of IndirectAward (e.g. if the extra funding is for administrative support, not research) – see the guidance on this for more details.
  • If the additional funding is for a new area of research that would have to be coded differently.

In both these situations the title/abstract should make this clear and will, in all likelihood, be different to the original. In these cases, the extension is handled as its own separate award and therefore you should follow your normal procedures for coding. It would still be useful to indicate the link between the two awards in the Comment column, but this is not mandatory.

 

I have awards where there are two or more principal investigators (Co-PIs), which may include co-PIs from different institutions. Which PI details / Institution do I use?

If there is some indication of which PI has main responsibility for the award, then use that person’s details and institution. For example, if designated as the primary point of contact (PoC), corresponding author etc..

If this information is not available, I’m afraid the best we can suggest is pick one. In both cases this is an imperfect solution, but will be simplest for funders to provide in the limited timescale of the project. It is one area we hope to review in the future.

 

How do we handle reporting studentships?

Past experience has shown that funders support studentships in a variety of different ways. Many use block grants (see above) and as a result finding sufficient detail to HRCS code individual studentships can be difficult. In addition there are often greater data protection / sensitivity issues on studentships than other award types.

We would advise that if you can include studentships with sufficient details to allow HRCS coding. This would give us the most nuanced picture of health research. However if such details are unavailable, we are happy to accept awards in whatever format you can provide. Note that if there are insufficient details to HRCS code, we may have to handle these studentships in the separate indirect/support funding assessment; see our Studentships guidance on IndirectAwards for more details.

 

Data Criteria: Specifics

Why are you analysing data from a calendar year, rather than financial year?

The short answer is that different funders collect data at different times of the year, and we’ve established that finalising data early in Q1 of a calendar year is the optimal time to do so.

While it’s true that many UK funders use the standard UK financial year (1st of April to 31st of March) this is not true of all. In addition, many funders will not have data on the previous financial year fully available until some months after the financial year end, as it has to be collated from a range of different stakeholders. Finally, several funders collect award data and/or HRCS coding of their awards at set times of the year, with several using the relatively quiet Christmas/New Year period to do so.

More practically the way we report on funding (see the TotalAward vs AnnualAward information below) is a little different to ensure we can get a standard approach across all funders, so we tend to avoid using true expenditure as a means to value awards.

 

Why are you requesting TotalAward or AnnualAward instead of spend?

The HRCS report is intended as a snapshot of health research funding in the UK. As such, getting a value for research spending is critical and a precise figure of ‘spend’ has merits as a better metric to use for this than an estimation.

However the practicalities of achieving this make acquisition of this ‘spend’ difficult. Many funders/awardees do not report regularly, and if they do it is at specific times within a year, most commonly the end of the financial year.

As a result, most funders will not be able to provide an accurate value to amount spent on any particular award. However all funders should have the total award value (i.e. how much funding has been allocated) or, less commonly, how much they assign to a particular award annually.

Furthermore, most research funding is ‘front loaded’ meaning the majority of actual spend occurs earlier in the lifetime of the award, which if used as a metric would give greater weighting to new awards over those reaching the end of the award period.

Therefore, in the interests of simplifying the process for all funders, and to reduce the impact of front loading in awards, we are requesting TotalAward (or AnnualAward if your funder uses this system). From either of these values we can generate an estimate of award value for the 2018 calendar year.

 

Some of our awards do not have a set total value (e.g. on-going investments without a fixed end date), and do not have a predetermined annual allocation either. How do we account for these types of award?

This is difficult and will vary from funder to funder. Clearly we would like awards to match the provided criteria as best we can, but more practically there will be certain types of award where this is not possible and we would prefer a ‘best we can’ answer than awards without values at all.

In these circumstances we would ask you provide a value that best reflects the award, which could include:

  • The recommended budget from the last review; which would be best represented by this value entered in the TotalAward column, with StartDate and EndDate being the review period.
  • The last full annual expenditure from a large investment; which would be best represented in the AnnualAward column, even if it’s not strictly within the required calendar year inclusion criteria.

Whatever the circumstances we recommend you contact the project team to discuss the specifics involved, and that any deviations from the prior criteria be noted in the Comments column on submission.

 

My award has start and end dates, but no duration in our database. How do I calculate this value?

So long as you have provided an award StartDate and EndDate in DD/MM/YYYY format, we will calculate durations for all submitted awards centrally, using the following excel formula to generate a value for duration in days (rounded up):

          =DATEDIF(StartDate,EndDate,”D”)

However if you are able to do so we recommend that funders use this method to check their data for anomalies before submitting. This is because if there are any errors (e.g. start and end dates mixed up) it is easier for funders to identify them themselves and fix them before submitting, rather the project management team identify a problem and having to query it

 

I have newly awarded grants in 2018, but we do not have a confirmed start date or whether there is any spend. What do I do?

Generally we would define StartDate as the ‘actual’ start date (i.e. date at which first spend is incurred) if it’s available but in many cases this is not. As a result, we would suggest using a predicted/expected start date.

Please note we can’t include awards in the 2018 data without a StartDate but remember that you will have until the end of the data collection period to submit awards. Thus, if you have newly awarded grants and are currently unsure if they will meet our inclusion criteria, keep an eye on them and submit as a ‘top up’ if you confirm their eligibility before the close of the data collection period.

 

My database does not have abstracts available for all awards (e.g. they are not stored in electronic format / extractable from our databases). Am I still able to submit them?

In an ideal world, and if it was not too arduous for the analysts to do so, we would want all abstracts in the electronic dataset you provide. The more information we have available in the final combined database, the more use it will be for further analysis. It’s also worth noting that Lay Abstracts can also be submitted for this analysis. While less suitable for coding, they can be utilised if no technical abstracts are available.

However so long as you have been able to code awards from other sources (e.g. from paper applications) then you are still very welcome to submit the awards to the main analysis. However, any awards submitted without coding AND insufficient detail to apply coding by other means can still be counted but only as IndirectAwards, effectively adding to the total value of R&D funding but not the main analysis.

 

Contact Details

If you have any other questions regarding the UK Health Research Analysis 2018, please contact Dr. Jim Carter at the MRC via the HRCS website.

 

The fourth in our UK analysis series is officially published

We are pleased to announce that the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 – the fourth in the nationwide health research landscaping report series –  has been published. The analysis consists of more than 22,500 health and biomedical research active awards from 146 organisations accounting for an estimated expenditure of almost £4.8 billion in the calendar year 2018.

When citing the report and/or onward use of the dataset please use the following acknowledgement:

“UK Health Research Analysis 2018 (UK Clinical Research Collaboration , 2020) ISBN 978-0-903730-29-7 https://hrcsonline.net/reports/analysis-reports/uk-health-research-analysis-2018/”.

Data visualisation

Note – You may find this visualisation works best by accessing it directly from the Tableau Public website:

To provide an alternative to the static report – and an opportunity for individual organisations to view their own data – we have provided an interactive dashboard which consists of two pages:

  • Funder level information providing details of 2018 expenditure by HRCS Health Category and Research Activity
  • A geographical distribution of the 2018 expenditure

You can also find additional details (such as exact values) by hovering over with your cursor.

In July 2022, this visualisation was been updated from the original publication version due to issues with supported software. This new version uses the same public dataset, only the application used is different.

 

Further reading

The publication of the report and dataset is the culmination of over a year of work from the Health Research Analysis Forum, which administers the HRCS and UK Health Research Analysis series. For those wishing to know more about how the analysis was conducted, the requirments for submissions and beyond you will find sub–pages relating to:

If you have any questions at all regarding this or previous analyses then please contact us.

 

Participating organisations in the 2018 analysis (A to Z)

Academy of Medical Sciences
Action Medical Research
Action on Hearing Loss
Alcohol Change UK
Alzheimer’s Research UK
Alzheimer’s Society
Anthony Nolan
Arts and Humanities Research Council
Asthma UK
Association of Medical Research Charities
Ataxia UK
UK Atomic Energy Authority
Autistica
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Bloodwise
Bowel Cancer UK
Bowel Disease Research Foundation
BRACE
Brain Research UK
Breast Cancer Now
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
British Council for Prevention of Blindness
British Heart Foundation
British Journal of Anaesthesia
British Lung Foundation
British Scoliosis Research Foundation
British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
British Skin Foundation
Cancer Research UK
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland
Chief Scientist Office, Scotland
Childhood Eye Cancer Trust
Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
Chronic Disease Research Foundation
Coeliac UK
Council of Deans of Health
Crohn’s & Colitis UK
Cystic Fibrosis Trust
DEBRA
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Education
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for International Development
Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland
Department for Transport
Department for Work and Pensions
Department of Health and Social Care (including the National Institute for Health Research)
Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation
Diabetes UK
Duchenne UK
Dunhill Medical Trust
Economic and Social Research Council
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Epilepsy Action
Epilepsy Research UK
Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine
Faculty of Public Health
Fight for Sight
Food Standards Agency
Friends of EORTC
Garfield Weston Foundation
Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity
Guts UK
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity
Health and Care Research Wales (R&D Division, Health and Social Services Group, Welsh Government)
Health and Safety Executive
Health and Social Care R&D Division, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland
Health Education England (Department of Health and Social Care funded)
Heart Research UK
Innovate UK
JDRF
Kidney Research UK
Leuka
Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI
LifeArc
Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine
Macmillan Cancer Support
Macular Society
Marie Curie
Medical Research Council
Medical Research Foundation
Medical Research Scotland
Medical Schools Council
Meningitis Now
Meningitis Research Foundation
MHA Care Group
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
MND Association
Moorfields Eye Charity
MQ: Transforming Mental Health
MS Society
Multiple System Atrophy Trust
Muscular Dystrophy UK
National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research
National Institute for Health Research (Department of Health and Social Care funded)
National Physical Laboratory
Natural Environment Research Council
Newlife The Charity for Disabled Children
North West Cancer Research
Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke
Nuffield Council of Bioethics
Nuffield Foundation
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)
Orthopaedic Research UK
Ovarian Cancer Action
Pancreatic Cancer UK
Parkinson’s UK
Pharmacy Research UK
Prostate Cancer UK
Public Health England
Research England
Royal Academy of Engineering
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability
Royal Osteoporosis Society
RS Macdonald Charitable Trust
Sands
Sarcoma UK
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Solving Kids’ Cancer
Sparks
Sports England
Stroke Association
Target Ovarian Cancer
Tenovus Cancer Care
The Brain Tumour Charity
The Cure Parkinson’s Trust
The Francis Crick Institute
The Health Foundation
The Lullaby Trust
The Royal College of Anaesthetists
The Royal College of Radiologists
The Urology Foundation
Tourettes Action
UK Clinical Virology Network
UK Space Agency
Versus Arthritis
Wellbeing of Women
Wellcome Trust
Welsh Government Office for Science
Wessex Medical Research
World Cancer Research Fund
Worldwide Cancer Research
Yorkshire Cancer Research

The third in the UKCRC Heath Research Analysis series was published on the 20th of August 2015. The increased scope of this analysis, with greater funder participation and a more complete public dataset, has lead to a number of news articles, blogs and re-use of the data in other reports and publications.

Here we document the dissemination of the 2014 Analysis, both from those research organisations that participated in the analysis and beyond.

 


UK Health Research Analyses and the benefits of shared data

In 2016, as part of the WHO’s Global Observatory on Health R&D reporting series, we produced a paper discussing the difficulties of creating a nationwide analysis of health research funding and the benefits of sharing funding data. Published in the journal Health Research Policy and Systems, this paper provides a basis from which the UK approach to landscaping analyses could be readily adapted to suit other groups or nations, and global availability of research funding data would support better national and international coordination of health research.

 


The 2014 analysis as an evidence base

The free publication of the report and associated dataset provides a considerable resource for those working in the area of health research strategy and policy. As a result the findings from the report and/or re-use of the dataset can provide a significant resource for subsequent analyses and further reporting.

In 2018, MQ: Transforming Mental Health published a long awaited report on UK Mental Health Research Funding 2014 – 2017. This report used the 2014 analysis to identify awards classified as Mental Health, and performed extensive sub-analysis to show the distribution of funding across specific mental health disorders and conditions. This approach was then replicated in further studies using the 2018 analysis and applying the HRCS coding to awards from international funders.

 

In 2017 a grant mapping report published by Marie Curie, an AMRC member charity with a focus on care and support for people living with terminal illness,  made extensive use of the 2014 analysis data. This report, “Does current palliative and end of life care research match the priorities of patients, carers and clinicians?”  focused on Research Activity Code 7.2 for palliative care research and fulfilled one of the main aims behind making data from the UK Health Research Analyses publicly available; to identify discrepancies in research need versus expenditure and encourage new collaborations to promote funding to these research ‘gaps’.

In addition, a recent call from Marie Curie for research grant applications also referenced the 2014 analysis. The call announcement noted that “only 0.16% of health-related research funded in 2014 by UK charitable and governmental research funders was spent on end of life care research.”

 

In September 2016, the Academy of Medical Sciences published their “Improving the health of the public by 2040” report, which provides key recommendations to “fully address the many complex health challenges the UK population will face in the next 25 years”. The 2014 analysis provided a key evidence base for the current research landscape (see page 17). A supplementary report, “UK research landscape for population health research and public health practice”, commissioned to support the Academy’s 2040 project made extensive use of the 2014 analysis dataset to further assess Population Health research, focusing on Prevention and Aetiology.

 

In another example, data from the 2014 analysis within the area of mental health funding featured in the Mental Health Foundation‘s report, Prevention Review: Landscape Paper, published online in November 2015. The Mental Health Foundation is a UK charity that aims to support development of evidence-based mental health policy and help people look after their own mental health.

Similarly, another AMRC member – Action on Hearing Loss – also referenced the 2014 analysis in their report “Hearing Matters”. In this report, Action on Hearing Loss note that less than 1 per cent of spend is on hearing loss, which equates to “£1.11 being spent on hearing research for every person affected.”

 

The information collected on public and charitable spending has also been of considerable use to the private sector. The estimation of total UK health-related R&D expenditure from the 2014 analysis has been used by the UKCRC partner The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry as part of their UK Biopharma R&D Sourcebook for 2015; Adapting the Innovation Landscape.

 


Online Articles and Blogs

In a blog by the Association of Medical Research Charities, Health Research Analysis 2014: the who, what, where of health research spending, Dr Sara Ellis discusses the results from the perspective of medical charities.
A total of 52 AMRC members participated in the 2014 analysis, covering 94.9 per cent of AMRC’s funding. The contribution of these 52 charitable funders provided £793m of spending in the analysis (39.1% of combined UK total).

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), one of several public funders new to the UKCRC analysis series in 2014, also produced a blog – Publicly funded health research and the role of NC3Rs – to discuss their HRCS portfolio in the context of the UK research landscape.

The Medical Research Council (MRC)‘s article, A decade of changes to the UK health research landscape, highlights the key findings of the report including that the research councils collectively support more than two thirds of all Underpinning research in the UK. This article was also featured on the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)‘s news page.

The report also featured in an article for Research Professional, an online database of research funding opportunities and a source of international research policy and practice news. The article – UK health R&D spend slipped in five years to 2014 – focuses on the change in growth rate over the ten years of this report series, with a particular focus on the changes in public/charitable funding compared to the pharmaceutical industry.

 


2015 Publication Announcements

The publication of the report on the 20th of August 2015 was disseminated widely within the participating research organisations, the UKCRC and to a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in health research policy.

Individual organisations also encouraged wider dissemination, with a range of publication announcements, email blasts, tweets and other engagement activities. A selection of these are noted below.

News of the report featured in the member briefing newsletter from AMRC (August 2015), a newsroom announcement from the NIHR, and an news post on the Northern Ireland HSC R&D Division website.

The report’s publication was also highlighted in a news post by the Chief Scientist Office in Scotland, the Northern Ireland Practice & Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery (NIPEC)’s newsletter series for senior nurses/midwives, and the NHS Noclor Research Support website’s news page.

 


2017 Review and Update

Following the feedback from the 2014 analysis, we conducted a formal review of the HRCS and accompanying resources in 2016-17. This resulted in some substantial updates to the several guidance topics, creation of new topics for emerging research fields and a new, much improved HRCS website. To aid those already familiar with the HRCS, we produced a summary slideset to help highlight the changes in format and revisions to guidance. For even more details, we also produced a full summary document which details how each topic has been updated. For further information on our review process, please contact us. All feedback is much appreciated.

An international workshop to discuss the Health Research Classification System took place on Wednesday the 14th of January 2009 in London.

The purpose of the workshop was to introduce the HRCS to people not familiar with it and also to discuss how to facilitate and encourage its wider use. The workshop was attended by 35 senior representatives of 14 different nationalities from 26 health research organisations. The speakers and attendees shared their experiences of the opportunities and challenges involved in using the HRCS and other coding systems.

The workshop documents are here:

 

Aims of the 2014 analysis

The UK Health Research Analysis 2014 replicated and enhanced the data collection and analysis process used in previous reports. These changes included:

  • Wider Participation – The number of funders participating in the analysis increased from the original 12 to 64 charitable and public funders of health research.
  • Improved Infrastructure Assessment – The process to record and assess indirect supportive funding was updated to allow easier data submission and more consistent definition of indirect funding. This includes capital funding, infrastructure, personal awards and other similar funds that support researchers and the capacity for performing health research.
  • Increased Reliability – Coding verification procedures were applied to 30 per cent of the dataset, consisting of over 17,000 awards.
  • Greater Data Availability – A full dataset, including titles and abstracts, was released allow for follow up analysis and further investigations.

Together these changes provide the most comprehensive overview of non-commercial health research funding in the UK to date.

UK Health Research Analysis 2014 publications

The UK Health Research Analysis was released on the 20th of August 2015, consisting of the following files:

For more details on the use of this dataset, and access to the previous analysis datasets (04/05, 09/10), visit our data pages.

Further developments following the 2014 analysis

In addition dissemination activities relating to this report, including further analysis and re-use of the dataset, are referenced in a dedicated news page.

If you have any questions regarding the UK Health Research Analysis 2014, please contact us.

Data Submission Guidelines

This section of the website contains the information required to complete and submit a dataset for the UK Health Research Analysis 2014. We hope that access to this information will help not only as a reference for the 2014 analysis but also to help those interested in replicating this type of analysis to develop a reliable method for data collection and assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This gives a general background to how and why the report is being made, including some explanations about the process of coding, data collection, quality control and analysis. This is the best place to start for newcomers to the HRCS reporting process.

Data Entry Spreadsheet (xlsx)

This template excel spreadsheet was provided to all participating funders to submit their data. Collecting data in this standardised format allowed for a speedier merging of data into a combined ‘all funder’ dataset for the main analysis.

Guidelines for Dataset Submission

This gives specific instructions and guidance for producing a dataset for the 2014 analysis. A similar document was produced for the 2009/10 analysis.

Data Usage and Publicity Statement

The HRCS itself is open source and available to all to use (following certain conditions, see our conditions of use page for more details). However the individual funder data remains property of the original funders who provided the information for the analysis.

The Data Usage and Publicity document contains some specifics about how the data collected for the analysis was stored, who owns it, who can access it, and how any subsequent analysis using the datasets must acknowledge the report.

Note:   During the development of the 2014 analysis, and following discussions at HRAF regarding the involvement of UberResearch, the project plan was modified from its original intention. As such the MRC and UberResearch published a summary of the changes notice (January 2015) to clarify the role of UberResearch in the project and the implications on data usage / publicity.

 

List of 64 participating funding organisations

Action Medical Research
Action on Hearing Loss
Alcohol Research UK
Alzheimer’s Research UK
Alzheimer’s Society
Arthritis Research UK*
Arts and Humanities Research Council#
Asthma UK
Ataxia UK
BACP Research Foundation
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council*
Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Campaign
British Heart Foundation*
British Lung Foundation
Cancer Research UK*
Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland
Chief Scientist Office (Scotland)*
Children with Cancer UK
CORE
Department of Health (England)*
Diabetes UK
Division for Social Care and Health Research (Wales)*
Economic and Social Research Council*
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council*
Epilepsy Research UK
Fight for Sight
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity
Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity
Health and Social Care Division of Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland*
Innovate UK#
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Kidney Research UK
Kids Kidney Research
Macular Society
Marie Curie
Medical Research Council*
Medical Research Scotland
Meningitis Now
Meningitis Research Foundation
Motor Neurone Disease Association
MQ: Transforming Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research#
Natural Environment Research Council#
Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke
Orthopaedic Research UK
Pancreatic Cancer UK
Parkinson’s UK
Pharmacy Research UK
Prostate Cancer UK
Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability
Sarcoma UK
SPARKS
Stroke Association
Tenovus Cancer Care
The Brain Tumour Charity
The British Pain Society
The Dunhill Medical Trust
The Lullaby Trust
Wellcome Trust*
World Cancer Research Fund
Worldwide Cancer Research
Yorkshire Cancer Research


* = Part of the Health Research Analysis Forum and participated in previous analyses
# = New public funder in 2014
The remaining 48 are medium/small medical charities who are members of the AMRC

From Donation to Innovation: an analysis of AMRC funders

Medical research charities play an important role in funding health research in the UK. The UKCRC’s 2006 UK Health Research Analysis 2004/05 report included the government funders of health related research and the three largest medical research charities: the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

In 2007, the UKCRC published From Donation to Innovation, an in-depth analysis of research funded by medium and smaller sized members of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). Based on the Health Research Classification System (HRCS) developed for the original analysis, this report provides a breakdown of spending by 29 charities on all types of health research. Taken together, the two reports give an accurate overview of 96% of AMRC members’ research funds.

From Donation to Innovation is a ‘snapshot’ of the directly funded peer-reviewed health research of the participating organisations between 1st April 2004 and 31st March 2005.

It includes: a breakdown of spending on all types of health research (from basic to clinical) across all areas of health and disease details of the distribution of funding within individual areas of health and disease

The information in the report is valuable for: informing individual charities’ future strategic funding decisions allowing charities to compare their research spending with that of other funders facilitating collaboration between health research funders showing donors, patients and researchers how charity research funds are spent gaining a better overall picture of the charity sector contribution to UK health research

A comparison of ‘From Donation to Innovation’ research activity spend versus UK Health Research Analysis 2004/05.


 

Participating Organisations:   A total of 29 UK health charities participated in the From Donation to Innovation analysis:

  • Action Medical Research
  • Alzheimer’s Research Trust (now Alzheimer’s Research UK)
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Arthritis Research Campaign (now Arthritis Research UK)
  • Association for International Cancer Research
  • Asthma UK
  • BackCare
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer (now Breast Cancer Now)
  • Breast Cancer Campaign (now Breast Cancer Now)
  • BUPA Foundation
  • Diabetes UK
  • Epilepsy Research UK
  • Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity
  • Kidney Research UK
  • Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care (now Marie Curie)
  • Medical Research Scotland
  • Motor Neurone Disease Association
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
  • National Osteoporosis Society
  • Parkinson’s Disease Society
  • Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
  • SPARKS
  • The Children’s Medical Research Charity
  • St Peter’s Trust for Kidney, Bladder & Prostate Research
  • The Stroke Association
  • Tenovus
  • WellChild
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research
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