Some of you may have received this communication from RCUK:
The project is revisiting the ways in which the Research Councils gather evidence of the outcomes and impact of their investments. This information is key to the Research Councils strengthening their evidence base for strategy development, and crucial in demonstrating the benefits of Research Council funded research to society and the economy.
Research Councils UK (RCUK) are moving away from collecting this information only at the end of funding agreements and are establishing an ongoing dialogue with the research community which allows outcomes to be reported at any point within the funding agreement and beyond. This recognises that impacts from research can be realised some time after grants or funding agreements have been completed.
RCUK are now developing the existing Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Society Today (EST) system for wider use by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Research Councils have agreed the business requirements and outcome types which are based on consultations with focus groups representing a range of users and funders, including university research managers and representatives from HEFCE (to ensure alignment with the REF requirements). A developer has been engaged to configure the existing system to meet the new requirements and the system is expected to go-live in summer 2011 following a pilot exercise. RCUK hope to migrate much of the existing data we hold to minimise the burden on Research Organisations, and to accommodate upload of data from existing Research Organisation data collection systems.
RCUK will be sending regular emails to keep Research Organisation contacts up to date with the progress of the project, but if you have any questions or queries, please do let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about the project please visit the RCUK website here:
RCUK will be engaging some members of the focus groups for comments on the feel/usability of the system and the data they will be collecting.