Funding updates

Published:

New approach to measuring outcomes and impacts from HRB-funded research

From January 2024, the HRB will move to an online outcomes and impact tracking platform called Reseachfish to evaluate the impact that stems from HRB-funded research.

Vydehi Muppavarapu, HRB

Researchfish is a web-based outcomes and impact tracking platform operated by Elsevier publishing. It enables the collection of high-quality data to track research and evidence impact. It is used by research funders in the UK such as Wellcome, The Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation to track, to evaluate and demonstrate the impacts arising from their funding portfolios.
It offers three clear benefits:

  1. The opportunity to conduct longitudinal analysis of outcomes and impacts.
  2. It helps both researchers and research funders to accurately measure and demonstrate their tangible impacts.  
  3. It presents an opportunity to streamline and lower the grant reporting burden for researchers.

To facilitate a smooth transition to this new system the HRB will host two online webinars, the first for Host Institutions and research offices and a second webinar for researchers, to explain how the new platform works, the benefits for researchers and host institutions, and key dates for the roll out of the system.

Registration details are:

1. Host Institutions / Research offices: 11.00 am - 12.00 noon, Tuesday 28 November 2023.

https://researchfish.com/health-research-board-institutions/

2. Grant holders / principal investigators / researchers: 10.00 am – 11.00 pm, 5 December 

https://researchfish.com/health-research-board-researchers/ 

Dr Mairéad O’Driscoll Chief Executive at the HRB explains,

“It is vital to be able demonstrate the impact of the research that we fund, both to our stakeholders and to the public at large. To do this this, we need proper systems in place to accurately capture the outcomes of the research we support on a regular basis. 

“Moving to Researchfish, is one key element in the HRB’s new Monitoring and Evaluation Implementation Plan. This plan will better equip the HRB and the wider research community to demonstrate the impact that our work makes and how it translates into benefits for patients, for health policy, and for the healthcare system.”

Vydehi Muppavarapu, Programme Manager for Monitoring and Evaluation added:

“On a practical level the HRB will require award recipients to submit outcomes information to the Researchfish platform on an annual basis, during a submission period. 

“To do this, PI’s will need to create a Researchfish account [link to section in FAQ] and complete an outcomes report. 

“While Researchfish allows for real-time updating of outputs and outcomes and researchers are encouraged to update their report throughout the year, there will be a specific six-week window every year where researchers will be asked to submit their information on the platform. Principal Investigators will need to report their outputs and outcomes on Researchfish on an annual basis, and up to five years after an HRB award has concluded. 

“We know it can take time for research outputs, outcomes and impact to arise.  And sometimes this happens after the end date of an award. Researchfish will enhance our capacity to capture these impacts for all of our benefit. 

“This information will be used for a number of purposes such as, facilitating programme evaluation, and improved reporting to Government and other stakeholders, both of which in turn help us to make better evidence-informed cases for continued and/or expanded research funding.”

Both webinars will clearly outline how the process will work and what people need to do. Recordings of these webinars will be available from the HRB website afterwards.

A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the change is available from the HRB website at

https://www.hrb.ie/funding/evaluation/how-we-monitor-and-evaluate/researchfishFAQ