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UKCRC Health Research Classification System

Purpose of the HRCS

Design and Aims of the HRCS

The Health Research Classification System (HRCS) is a system for classifying and analysing all types of biomedical and health related research. The HRCS was developed by the UKCRC Partners as a research management tool.

The HRCS is designed to answer strategic questions about investment across the broad spectrum of different research activities in different areas of health and disease funded by the Partners. Use of this single stable common classification system allows meaningful comparisons to be made within and between different research portfolios and allows funding trends to be monitored over time.

The aim of using the HRCS is to capture the centre of gravity or main objective of the research taking place within the lifetime of the award funding. Analysis of research coded by the HRCS provides an overview of the strategic focus of research investment.

The HRCS is not like other keyword systems which are designed to capture all facets of the research or potential downstream outcomes. These systems enable complex searches for research relevant to different areas but they cannot be used to accurately attribute research costs to individual categories.

Want to learn more about the origins of the HRCS?

See our history for the original development of the HRCS, while our reports pages will show you how the HRCS has been used to assess biomedical research funding in the UK in the last ten years.

Thinking of using the HRCS?

The HRCS is open source and available for all to use, see our conditions of use page for more details. If you are interested in learning how to apply HRCS coding to awards, our approach to coding page is the best place to start.

We’d also recommend our official terminology document if you’re considering integrating HRCS into management information systems.

Finally if you’re thinking of performing your own HRCS analysis, our analysis tools will provide some helpful pointers on how to replicate our data analysis methodology.

Want to learn more about how the HRCS is being used?

We recommend starting with our main report pages to see how the UK Health Research Analyses have used HRCS data to assess biomedical research funding in the UK in the last ten years. We also highlight how other individual funders make use of the HRCS, its dissemination internationally, and re-use of UK in our Use of the HRCS page.