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Impact of the HRB/MRCG Joint Funding Scheme

Impact and benefits of the scheme

The HRB has evaluated the outputs and outcomes of all HRB awards completed in 2014 and 2015 and in 2016 and 2017, including the Joint Funding Scheme. Compared to all other HRB funding schemes, Joint Funding Scheme projects completed in 2014/2015 were the most productive in terms of:

·    Oral and poster presentations

·    Prizes, awards, and recognition

·    Numbers of collaborations established

·    Policy and practice outputs

·    Healthcare innovations.

For Joint Funding Scheme projects completed in 2016/2017 the impact was less strong. It is not clear why this was the case because, unlike previous reports, the impact report for these years did not systematically disaggregate data according to each funding scheme. However, it is notable that Joint Funding Scheme projects completed in these years were the most productive in terms of presentations at scientific meetings and that collaborations established in these projects led to publication citation scores twice the world average.


Below are excerpts from the HRB publication: Outputs and outcomes of HRB awards completed in 2014 and 2015

Thanks to the authors Maura Hiney and Kate O’Keefe

  • The MRCG Co-fund scheme had 4% of the funding allocation, and accounted for 4% of total publications. The average number of papers per grant was 2.6 (similar to Project Grants and Fellowship Awards), with 14 papers per €1 million spent, at a cost per paper of €71k.
  • Presentations (both oral and poster) at scientific meetings were the most common scientific dissemination type reported. Recipients of the MRCG Co-fund and Infrastructure awards were the most active in this regard.
  • Of all grant types, the MRCG Co-fund scheme produced the highest number of oral and poster presentations (national and international) per €1 million spend.
  • The MRCG Co-fund scheme created 17 posts at a cost of €130k each, with 8 posts created on average per €1 million spent.
  • The MRCG Co-fund awards were almost exclusively categorised as Applied Biomedical Research (one was combined Applied Biomedical and Clinical Research), and attracted primarily biomedical scientists, as well as one technician and two medical doctors.
  • The MRCG Co-fund award, while accounting for only 10% of total reports of prizes, awards and recognition, yielded an average of 16.3 awards, prizes or recognition outputs per €1 million spend, by far the most productive of all the grant types.
  • The most productive grant type was the MRCG Co-fund, which produced 12 collaborations per €1 million spend. 22 of the 27 MRCG collaborations were with academic partners, both national and international, while the majority of the remaining seven collaborations were with international health service providers.
  • Holders of MRCG Co-fund awards reported securing 19 additional awards, valued at 3.8% of the total value of leveraged awards. This represented a good return on investment of €721K for every €1 million spend on this grant type.
  • The MRCG Co-fund scheme was the most productive in terms of policy and practice outputs (3.2 per €1 million spend) even though the majority (96%) of MRCG Co-fund awards were categorised as Applied Biomedical Research, and might not be expected to have a focus on this metric. 
  • Unsurprisingly given their nature, MRCG Co-fund awards, while small in number, were very productive in terms of public engagement outputs per €1 million spend (15.4).
  • MRCG Co-fund awards reported five healthcare innovations and, as has been observed for other metrics, this scheme again has the highest productivity per €1 million spend, at an average of 2.3 innovations. The types of healthcare innovations emerging from MRCG Co-fund awards was limited to Therapeutic intervention: Gene or Cell therapy, Diagnostic Tool: Non-Imaging and Therapeutic intervention: Vaccine or Immunotherapy, which reflects the predominant focus of this scheme in biomedical research.

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