Researchfish guidance

Researchfish is an online facility that enables research funders and research organisations to track the impacts of their investments, and researchers to log the outputs, outcomes and impacts of their work.

Who has to use Researchfish?

All seven UK Research councils now use Researchfish and it is currently used by 90+ funders, including the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Cancer Research UK, to gather information from researchers about the outcomes from their work.

All Principal Investigators, researchers and Research Council funded PhD students (and supervisors) must complete a submission to Researchfish annually even if there is nothing to report (nil submission).

You should receive e-mails from your funder and Researchfish with instructions and information but if you’re not sure if this applies to you, check your terms and conditions or contact RBI Post Award Services for advice.

Why do you need to use Researchfish?

The information that you enter on Researchfish will appear on the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Gateway to Research. Data on this public website provides information about publications, people, organisations and outcomes relating to research projects. RCUK have a responsibility to demonstrate the value and impact of research supported through public funding.

Submitted outcomes data is analysed and used to report to Government on the impact of public investment in research. The annual submission exercise enables Research Councils (and other funders) to draw on the most up-to-date information for impact reports to the Government in the Autumn of each year. They also use the information provided by award-holders in briefings and information requests for Parliament as well as major strategic partners.

It is vital that award holders return information on the outcomes from their projects, so that Government and funders can understand the impact research is having in the longer term, demonstrating the contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people. In turn this will facilitate strategic decision making and investment. Research outcomes provide a strong evidence base to support the continued funding of research in the UK.

Benefits for the researcher

  • Attribute your outcomes once for visibility to stakeholders
    Researchfish enables researchers to record all of their research outcomes in one place, against a defined set of structured and consistent research outputs and reduces the number of different forms and systems researchers are required to report into. Once an output is attributed to an award, the funder will have full visibility, allowing them to track pathways to impact.
  • Signpost potential impacts to win new awards
    Researchfish enables researchers to attribute outcomes to any number of relevant awards from multiple funders, using delegate and research teams as contributors.
  • Build and re-use personal portfolio of your research career
    Researchfish comes with a CV builder tool. This tool draws upon reported outcomes and maintains a current profile for use with funders, publishers, press and others. Outputs can be added to your portfolio for current awards as well as any awards you hold from other funders and these can be added to any number of CVs.
  • All of a PIs grants in one place
    Researchfish allows all of a PIs grants to be viewed in one place, and reported on easily saving up to 80% of the paperwork generated through traditional reporting. PIs have free access to Researchfish software, and there are added benefits such as a communication centre, connecting them directly with their funders, university or other PIs working on the same research project.

Accepting a research council grant means accepting the RCUK grant terms and conditions.

When do you have to submit information on Researchfish?

You will receive an e-mail from your funder with instructions about the submission period (different funders may have different submission periods). The AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, NERC, BBSRC, MRC and STFC funders have the same submission period, 6 February until 16 March 2017. The next NIHR submission period is to be confirmed.

Data can be added at any time before the submission period.

What information do you need to submit?

You should submit evidence and information about the outcomes and impacts of the research you have been funded for. 

Please note: The Research Councils ask additional questions, some funder specific and others award specific. Please view the frequently asked questions document for more information.

Where can you get help and support?

The Post Award Services team at UWE Bristol can help with general enquiries. The following support resources are also available:

Sanctions for non-compliance

RCUK have agreed a full harmonised Cross-Council Sanctions Policy regarding the responsibilities of researchers to complete a Researchfish return, as part of the standard terms and conditions of holding an award. Other funders may apply sanctions - see the NIHR guidance and Cancer Research UK guidance.

Please note: Failure to submit a return will jeopardise funding.

If the required annual update for an award is not submitted on time, the Research Council(s) may apply the following sanctions:

  • The researcher may be unable to apply (either as a Principal Investigator or as a Co-Investigator) for further awards from any Research Council
  • If the award is still current payments for the award may be withheld.

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