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New report helps inform decisions about how science should be funded
Date:3/6/2011

Clinical research has greater societal impact over a 15-20 year timescale, while basic research has greater academic impact, according to a new study from RAND Europe and the Health Economics Research Group (HERG) at Brunel University.

Project Retrosight was a multinational, four-year study that investigated the translation of basic biomedical and clinical cardiovascular and stroke research, and its impact on future work, policy, products and healthcare. The study was based on a rich source of material taken from 29 carefully selected case studies of grants for research conducted in these areas that were awarded 15-20 years ago.

Five key findings from the study are:

  • A large and diverse range of impacts arose from the 29 grants studied.
  • There are variations between the impacts derived from basic biomedical and clinical research.
  • There is no correlation between knowledge production and wider impacts.
  • The majority of economic impacts identified come from a minority of projects.
  • We identified factors that appear to be associated with high and low impact.

The study was carried out by a consortium of research partners located in Australia, Canada and the UK, led by RAND Europe and HERG. The research used the Payback Framework, which provides a common structure for examining the research funding process and understanding research impact.

The research was led by Steven Wooding, Research Leader at RAND Europe, who said: "The study showed that research is important, that it has real tangible benefits for society and that how you fund it matters. If you want to make a difference to patients over a 15-20 year time-scale, clinical research is more effective. If you want to build knowledge for the longer-term, then basic research is better."

Professor Martin Buxton at HERG added, "Project Retrosight builds on successful methodologies already used to evaluate diabetes and arthritis researc
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Contact: Lynne Saylor
saylor@rand.org
44-122-327-3898
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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