Susan Guthrie

Photo of Susan Guthrie
Research Group Director, Science and Emerging Technology, RAND Europe
Cambridge Office


Ph.D. in physics, University of Cambridge; M.Sci. in natural sciences, University of Cambridge

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Susan Guthrie is research group director for the Science and Emerging Technology group at RAND Europe. Her primary research interests are in the area of science and innovation policy, with a particular interest in evaluation, performance monitoring, and research strategy. Recent and ongoing work includes a study into decisionmaking processes in research funding; an evaluation of the UK's Global Challenges Research Fund; an evaluation of UKRI's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; a review of pregnancy research priorities and funding allocation in the UK; developing a dashboard to assess the societal impacts of biomedical and health research in the EU Framework Programmes; a real-time review of the Research Excellence Framework; and an analysis of peer review processes and alternatives to peer review in the funding of research. 

Guthrie has conducted research for a range of clients including the European Commission, the UK Department of Health, the Wellcome Trust, the UK Medical Research Council, the Royal Society, a number of HEIs, and a range of charities and foundations. Prior to joining RAND Europe, Guthrie was a fellow at the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and she has previously worked at Innovia Technology, a science and innovation consultancy. She has a Ph.D. in physics and an M.Sci. (Hons) in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge. 

Recent Projects

  • Mental health of researchers in the UK: A review of the evidence
  • International mobility of researchers: A literature review and survey of researchers in the UK
  • Estimating the economic returns of UK musculoskeletal research
  • Research into decisionmaking processes in research funding
  • Analysis of research priorities and funding allocation in pregnancy research in the UK

Selected Publications

Guthrie, S., Krapels, J., Garrod, B., Cochrane, G., Alberti, P., Adams, A., Bonham, A. and Wooding S., "Assessing and Communicating the Value of Biomedical Research: Results from a Pilot," Academic Medicine, 2017 (forthcoming)

Hernandez-Villafuerte, K., Sussex, J., Robin, E., Guthrie, S., Pollitt, A., Wooding S, "Economies of Scale and Scope in Publicly Funded Biomedical and Health Research: Evidence from the Literature," Health and Research Policy Systems, 15(3), 2017

Pollitt, A., Potoglou, D., Patil, S., Burge, P., Guthrie, S., King, S., Wooding, S., Grant, J, "Understanding the relative valuation of research impact: a best–worst scaling experiment of the general public and biomedical and health researchers," BMJ Open, 6, 2016

Hanney, S. R., Castle-Clarke, S., Grant, J., Guthrie, S., Henshall, C., Mestre-Ferrandiz, J., Pistollato, M., Pollitt, A., Sussex, J., & Wooding, S, "How long does biomedical research take? Studying the time taken between biomedical and health research and its translation into products, policy, and practice," Health Research Policy and Systems, 13(1), 2015

Guthrie S, Bienkowska-Gibbs T, Manville C, Pollitt A, Kirtley A, Wooding S., "The impact of the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme, 2003-13: a multimethod evaluation," Health Technology Assessment, 19(67), 2015

Glover, M., Buxton, M., Guthrie, S., Hanney, S., Pollitt, A., & Grant, J., "Estimating the returns to UK publicly funded cancer-related research in terms of the net value of improved health outcomes," BMC Medicine, 12(1), 2014

Guthrie, S., Garrod, B., Kirtley, A., Pollitt, A., Grant, J. and Wooding, S, A 'DECISIVE' approach to research funding: Lessons from three Retrosight studies, RAND Corporation (RR-1132-DH), 2015

Manville, C., Guthrie, S., Henham, M-L., Garrod, B., Sousa, S., Kirtley, A., Castle-Clarke, S., Ling, T., Assessing impact submissions for REF2014: An evaluation, RAND Corporation (RR-1032-HEFCE), 2015


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    The Future of REF: Driving a Culture to Maximise High-Quality Research and Impact

    To understand the impact of the Research Excellence Framework, RAND Europe studied the attitudes of the United Kingdom's research community towards the assessment. Through surveys, interviews, and focus groups, the study team was able to gain valuable insight into researcher views across disciplines, career stages, and types of institutions.

    Dec 14, 2021 Wonkhe

  • A laboratory classroom with a group of women science students working, photo by SolStock/Getty Images

    Culture, Performance, and Assessment in Research

    The unwritten, and often unsaid, concern in the debate about research culture in the UK is an apparent trade-off between excellence in research and a healthy research culture. But the evidence shows that this is a false dichotomy.

    May 25, 2021 Wonkhe

  • Hand holding a light bulb with cogs inside, photo by ipopba/Getty Images

    The Future of Research Outputs

    The changing nature of research outputs has the potential to affect a wide range of organizations and people. A proactive stance could help drive research towards better practices in information storage, sharing and communication, but requires early action and shared goals at a sector level.

    May 12, 2020 British Library

  • May sitting with laptop and reading a report, photo by  jacoblund/Getty Images

    Measuring Up: How to Ensure Peer Review for Grant Applications Remains Up to the Mark

    Expert peer review is considered the gold standard for assessing the validity, significance and originality of research. When it comes to grant applications, however, peer review is not without its shortcomings. Addressing some of the challenges that peer review poses could ensure that the best research receives the financial support it deserves.

    Jul 26, 2019 Research Fortnight

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    Evidence Synthesis—Behind the Scenes

    The Royal Society and RAND Europe recently published an evidence synthesis on the impacts of ammonia emissions from agriculture on biodiversity. As well as aiming to provide a useful summary of the evidence to inform ongoing policy discussions, the study was intended to test the Royal Society's recently developed principles for good evidence synthesis for policy.

    Nov 30, 2018 The Royal Society

  • Cows line up for feeding on Salisbury Plain in Southern England, May 20, 2012

    Ammonia – Why the Big Stink?

    Ammonia pollution harms human health and reduces the richness and diversity of the environment. As new policy frameworks are implemented in the UK, there is an opportunity to support farmers to make the changes necessary to reduce ammonia pollution.

    Sep 18, 2018 The Royal Society

  • Man pointing to a document

    Funders Using Bibliometrics Should Keep It Simple

    Avoiding information overload is crucial for research grant decisions. The right guidance and training to panel members can help them make the most of bibliometrics as an evaluation tool to assist their decisions on research funding.

    Sep 15, 2017 Research Fortnight

  • Stressed researcher with head on blackboard filled with formulas and equations

    Why the Mental Ill Health of Academic Researchers Remains a Hidden Problem

    The mental health and well-being of higher education staff is a significant challenge, probably even more so than the evidence indicates.

    Aug 28, 2017 Times Higher Education

  • Sign with arrows pointing direction to the United Kingdom

    Professional Expectations, Families and Brexit Shape Future for UK International Researchers

    Mobility has become an even higher priority for researchers since the results of the UK’s EU referendum, Brexit. To continue to attract and keep top talent, the UK needs to understand how and why researchers move between countries.

    May 5, 2017 Times Higher Education

  • People working on a document together

    Why We Need to Experiment with Grant Peer Review

    More than 95 per cent of academic biomedical research funding is controlled by peer review of grant applications. It is generally cited as the gold standard for awarding funding, but it appears most effective when used conservatively.

    Apr 4, 2017 Research Fortnight

  • Old books and reading glasses

    What Does the Stern Review Mean for the Research Excellence Framework?

    The Stern Review's release at the end of July raised two pertinent questions about the Research Education Framework. What purposes does the REF serve? And does it offer good value for money for the UK's higher education institutions?

    Sep 6, 2016 The RAND Blog