Evaluating Health Research Funding in Ireland

Assessing the Impacts of the Health Research Board of Ireland's Funding Activities

Published in: Research Evaluation, v. 20, no. 3, Sep. 2011, p. 193-200

by Edward Nason, Brendan Curran, Stephen Hanney, Barbara Janta, Gillian Hastings, Mairead O'Driscoll, Steven Wooding

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Understanding the impact of research is important for funding bodies in accounting for funds, advocating additional resources and learning how better to achieve their aims. The Health Research Board (HRB) has funded research in Ireland for over 20 years. We analysed eight examples of HRB grants from between 10 and 15 years earlier using the Payback Framework to catalogue the impacts. They ranged from world-class academic articles and new clinical assays through to improvements in recovery time for acute myocardial infarction and development of a drug company worth over €5 million. Here we first describe the study, then examine the role of the Payback Framework in research impact assessment including examining impacts made by the HRB study itself following its completion in 2008. We discuss how that study has contributed to further development of research impact assessment methods that could be used by the HRB and others.

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