March 24, 2021

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation adopts researchfish for their grantmaking toolkit

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation supports bold and innovative research into Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It is vital that they capture and evaluate the outputs and outcomes of their projects so that they can ensure the research that they fund makes a difference to the lives of IBD patients. 

But evaluating the impact of research can be particularly challenging. Firstly, results do not promptly present themselves at the end of a research project. Results might not be seen for many years after the project has ended. Secondly, there are multiple paths to impact. For example, one project may bring about a new research tool, another may lead to a collaboration, a further project might be a collaboration using the new tool which results in a new medical product. Each element contributes to the final impact. 

Many institutions still rely on purely academic methods of evaluating research such as bibliographic citations but this does not fully reflect the range of outputs and outcomes of a project and misses the real world impact. From the outset the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and other members of the Health Research Alliance were keen to go beyond citations as a measure of success. This requirement brought the Kenneth Rainin Foundation to researchfish.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has now completed its first round of grantee reporting using the researchfish platform. In addition to the common question set which evidences 16 different pathways to impact (from publications to products, spin-outs to influence on policy, and many more) the Kenneth Rainin Foundation has also added custom questions relevant to their research programs to help them track and understand what is important for their projects and grantees. The initial reporting has uncovered some interesting data, such as the attraction of additional funding awards to Rainin grantees and the global interest in the research they have been funding. For further information see the blog post “Evaluating Our Impact” on the Kenneth Rainin website.

The researchfish platform is integrated with thousands of other systems meaning that data already linked with, for example ORCID, Crossref, PubMed and many others, can be automatically associated with the project which limits the reporting burden of the individual researchers. 

“Measuring the impact of our research funding is critical to advancing effective, strategic grantmaking.” Jackie Hausman, Program Officer, Health

As the amount of data within the researchfish platform increases the Kenneth Rainin Foundation will be able to better understand the holistic impact of the research that they have funded. They hope to use these insights to guide their research strategy in order to bring discoveries closer to the lives of IBD patients.

For more information about the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s journey to research impact evaluation we ran a joint webinar back in July 2020 and for anyone that missed it we have a recording posted