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The decision of the Arthritis Research Campaign (arc) to map its entire research portfolio and analyse the returns and outcomes associated with individual investments was ground breaking. Nothing similar had been attempted by other major funding organisations and there was no freely available tool for the task.

The mapping tool had to be capable of producing data that would stand up to sophisticated analysis while imposing minimal time and cost burdens on administrators, researchers and data processors. The final tool took the form of a simple, tick-box based web questionnaire that took most researchers less than an hour to complete.

The impact map generated by the tool enables arc to see the returns from individual grants and compare different types of grant. arc intends to use accumulated data to inform its funding strategy and project evaluation.

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