Economic impact highlight notice

The MRC wishes to understand better the link between research and wider economic and societal impacts, and to use this understanding to improve strategies for the future support of research.

There is a need for all areas of public spending to examine the contribution it is making to economic growth in the UK, and to consider ways in which impact can be maximised.

However research organisations lack rigorous and quantitative methodologies to measure return on investment and demonstrate their impact on both the economy and the broader society.

As a first step to addressing this, the MRC ran an open consultation and workshop in October 2011. The main conclusion of the workshop was that there was a pressing need for more high quality quantitative and qualitative research on the causal links between research and impact.

Full workshop report (PDF, 1.88MB)

This resulted in the first Economic Impact funding stream, which funded one award in the first round in 2012 (details of which can be found in this blog post) and three awards in the second round in Autumn 2013.

In order to continue to encourage high quality research the MRC is launching this third round of funding.

Highlight notice

Applications for projects up to 3 years duration will be considered. The MRC are interested in studies which address all areas if impact, such as economic, societal, cultural, public policy or services, health, or quality of life.

This highlight is particularly aimed at developing a portfolio of studies that can deliver one or more of the following:

  • Provide better macro-economic estimates of the return on investment from research.
  • Identifying and validating critical success factors and improved intermediate indicators for measuring the impact of research on a micro-economic level.
  • Investigate pathways to maximise impact from research funding, and methodologies to track or estimate the contribution of these processes.
  • Quantifying the impact on the economy and the ‘work force’ of funding research and training
  • Identifying specific technologies, discoveries or research processes which have led to a global health impact and advancing methodologies to value this impact
  • Capturing the benefits of research from the user perspective, how is medical research used by industry and policy makers?
  • Applications for feasibility/pilot studies of up to one year duration are also welcomed, if promising results are generated a full application would be encouraged in a future funding call.

Applications are encouraged to:

  • Contribute to establishing new methodological approaches and models for measuring both the economic and wider impact of research.
  • Employ existing methodologies and datasets, if it can be shown that the results will provide new insight into the link between research and impact.

The funded awards will be required to submit a short milestone report annually.

Application process and schedule

All applications must be approved by the Evaluation team prior to submission. Please email

The call will open in JeS on Thursday 13 February 2014.

  • Applications must be submitted by Thursday 27 March 2014.
  • Funding decisions will be taken in June 2014.

Ring-fenced funding is available for support of proposals in this strategically important area.

The applicants’ handbook (PDF, 859KB) contains guidance on the application process.

Contact and guidance

It is essential to discuss your proposals with the MRC evaluation team at an early stage.

Contact: Dr Beverley Sherbon