Cover: The Returns from Arthritis Research Volume 1

The Returns from Arthritis Research Volume 1

Approach, Analysis and Recommendations

Published Sep 22, 2004

by Steven Wooding, Stephen Hanney, Martin Buxton, Jonathan Grant


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There is increasing pressure for research funders to demonstrate, and seek to maximise, the payback from the research they fund. This report, prepared for and funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign (arc), presents the results of an evaluation of 16 research grants awarded by arc in the early 1990s. The main objective was to develop a system for evaluating arthritis research, with a view to allowing arc to stimulate and manage the exploitation of research advances so that they translate into outcomes of practical benefit to people with arthritis. The report presents a framework that conceptualises the relationship between research inputs, process, output and outcomes. Using this framework, we catalogue a diverse range of research output and outcomes arising from these 16 grants and make a series of quantitative and qualitative assessments comparing, for example, payback from project grants versus programme grants. In conclusion, we make six observations:

  • There is a diversity of research payback.
  • The researcher is the key driver of research translation.
  • Short, focused project grants seem to provide value for money.
  • Intended and unintended flexibility in funding is used advantageously.
  • Referees’ contributions to the peer-review process are of variable benefit.
  • The payback framework could be operationalised and embedded by arc.

The companion Volume 2 is a collection of the case studies. These case studies all follow a similar format based on the conceptual model and provide a rich and detailed narrative on the payback of each research grant.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for and funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign (arc) and performed by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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