New research tool means more patient-focused treatments

22nd August 2013

Patients across England could benefit from an increase in the number of focused treatment studies, thanks to a new tool being used in health research.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which conducts clinical trials as well as ground-breaking translational research on treatments and diseases, has said that having access to the Researchfish tracking system could result in scientists collaborating more easily, and research data being used more effectively. This could lead to more new treatments of direct benefit to patients being more readily developed for the NHS than ever before.

Dr David Kryl, Head of Business Intelligence at the NIHR said:

“By using Researchfish we will now have faster availability of structured data to analyse.  This will give us the ability to link our funded researchers with other partners, and use the expertise of our scientists much more effectively, meaning we will get better and more relevant science being done, and more results for patients.”

Already used by 12 of the UK’s leading universities and over 70 funding bodies, Researchfish is an online research outcomes programme which connects researchers, universities and funding bodies together to track and evaluate the outputs of research.  For the NIHR, this means better planning of research strategies, and better value for money for the taxpayer.

Dr David Kryl added:

“Using Researchfish will definitely mean greater accountability for the research we support, and will allow us to be much more effective in acting as a sound custodian of public money for the public good – one of our primary aims.”

Following a review of their existing research outcomes monitoring system, and feedback from researchers, NIHR decided that the time was right to move to a new system for monitoring the progress of their research grants:

“The previous system we had was working well, but only allowed yes or no questions to be answered.  Some NIHR researchers had mentioned the benefits of the Researchfish system being used by other funders, so in an effort to reduce the burden on NIHR scientists, Researchfish seemed like a natural choice.”

In demonstrating the value of NIHR health research investment, Dr Kryl said the system has the potential to communicate the science being done at the NIHR to a wider audience:

“The information we collect through Researchfish will definitely be used much more widely than it is now.  We look forward to using it in communicating about our research to the public, feeding back into the planning of our own research strategy and making the case to government for continuing support of the research we do.





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