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RCUK Research Outcomes System now available

Visit Research Councils UK website

24 November 2011

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) Research Outcomes System (ROS) has today (24 November) been launched. It is a web based system through which researchers and research organisations can supply information about the outcomes of their research to Research Councils.

RCUK engaged with users from the higher education sector during development of the system to ensure it is easy to use and aligned as far as possible with universities' own research management systems. Benefits of the new system include:

  • Outcomes can be added at any time during the life of a research grant and beyond
  • Existing data can be uploaded from HEIs own research information systems, therefore minimising the reporting burden on researchers
  • A bulk upload option allows multiple outcomes for multiple grant holders to be inputted at the same time, therefore saving time and effort
  • Access to ROS can be delegated to other users, including joint investigators or co-investigators, and research managers
  • Outcomes can be attributed to funding from more than one Research Council
  • The ROS takes account of and, where possible, accommodates the reporting requirements of other bodies, for example the UK Funding Councils' Research Excellence Framework (REF) and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data returns

Dr Sue Smart, Chair of the RCUK Research Outcomes Project that developed the ROS said: "The Research Councils recognise that the outcomes and impacts of research are often realised some time after the end of a research grant. This is why the Research Outcomes System has been developed to allow research outcomes information to be provided on an ongoing basis. The information gathered by the ROS will help us demonstrate the benefits of Research Council funded research and their contribution to the economic growth and societal wellbeing of the UK."

The ROS is based on the existing ESRC collection system which has been developed on behalf of the AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC and EPSRC. The remaining three Research Councils will continue to use alternative existing systems. The MRC and STFC are using the e-Val system and at present, NERC is continuing to use its Research Outputs Database (ROD).

The current priority for MRC is to extend this approach to share data collection with charities and other funders that contribute significantly to the medical research sector, and continue to make the system easier to use. The aim of e-Val, as with ROS, is to rationalise the capture of output data, reducing the number of systems to which researchers report.

The Research Councils will continue to work together to develop a common solution in the medium term, as Sue Smart explains: "We are looking at ways to facilitate data exchange between ROS and e-Val, enabling researchers to record information once, and easily transfer this to other systems where necessary."

The Research Councils are also working with JISC on a project to scope the issues and requirements from universities, funders and researchers in managing the information about research outputs. The aim of the work is to provide the UK education and research sector with clear, practical guidance on recording and sharing information about its research outputs, so that it can be reused for a variety of purposes, including by the Research Councils' systems.

Neil Jacobs JISC's Digital Infrastructure Programme Director says: "The UK research community punches well above its weight in terms of the quality and quantity of research outputs. However, these are not systematically recorded, so it can be hard to demonstrate that impact. Researchers, universities and funders have a common interest in ensuring that the outputs from UK research are visible, and that this is achieved without putting undue burden on the sector.

"This can be done using both institutional repositories and more sophisticated research information systems but, in either case, it is important that these interoperate effectively with the systems operated by research funders and others.  The RIO Extension project will describe a roadmap for the sector to achieve that."


Notes to editors

The Research Outcomes System (ROS) is a web-based system which allows users to provide research outcomes to four of the Research Councils - the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

About RCUK

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK's global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, business, government, and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: .
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: .

External contact

Jane Wakefield, Press and Communications Manager, RCUK

tel: 01793 444595