Back to listing

Research Councils show impact of their investments in new impact reports

1 Feb 2016

Each Research Council has produced its own report, showcasing specific examples of the impact of investment through their various awards, programmes and collaborations. The wide-ranging nature of the impact extends from furthering technological advances to combating disease.

Collectively, the seven Research Councils invest £3 billion in research each year covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today and provide the world-class research and skills that are the foundation of a strong and productive UK economy. This helps to achieve balanced growth as well as contributing to a healthy society and a sustainable world. It ensures the UK builds capacity, safeguards the long-term sustainability of research and remains a global leader in research and innovation. Additionally, by working in partnership, the Research Councils combine investments in a multitude of global societal and economic challenge areas to achieve even greater impact.

Highlights from the reports - particularly in boosting the economy, shaping policy and contributing to society - include:

  • Supporting and informing the international fight against Ebola: Work at the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London has helped to inform and stimulate the international response to the recent Ebola epidemic. Using sophisticated analytical measures, the research team were able to track the spread of the epidemic, estimate transmission rates and incubation periods and thereby identify the most effective interventions for agencies on the ground. This not only helped steer emergency relief efforts in West Africa, but will help inform on the analysis of epidemics both for the UK and internationally in the future.
  • Improving family lives and saving the taxpayer £1.2 billion: Secondary analysis of ESRC-funded survey data has helped local authorities in England to target interventions that support families with long-standing problems, turning around their lives and improving the life chances of children. The Troubled Families programme, praised by the Prime Minister after helping an estimated 116,000 families and saving the taxpayer £1.2 billion, was extended for five years from 2015.
  • Shaping international policy making and supporting vulnerable deaf communities: AHRC-funded research has supported the status of endangered sign languages in communities in India, new legislation in Finland, and increased transnational awareness of sign languages risk of endangerment.
  • Improving the UK’s resilience to environmental hazards by informing effective risk management: NERC’s annual investment of £12.8 million generates up to £127 million pa benefit from protecting properties, farmland and infrastructure through earlier warning of floods. Plus further health and cost-saving benefits from forecasting seasonal extremes, extreme weather, effects of volcanic ash on aircraft, protecting fisheries and preparing for climate change.
  • Informing Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy:  Results from the Urban Pollinators Project informed Defra’s recommendations linked to the UK’s National Pollinator Strategy; a ten-year plan to tackle the decline in pollinator numbers. The city of Bristol is now developing a local Pollinator Strategy as an exemplar for UK and European cities. The project received £1.2 million in investment from the Insect Pollinators Initiative (funded by BBSRC, NERC, Defra, the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government).

For more, see the full report in the successes section.


  • Categories: Funding
  • Health categories: Neurological
  • Strategic objectives: Securing impact from medical research, Aim: Picking research that delivers
  • Locations:
  • Type: News article