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Recent Research: New Study Examines the Returns from Cardiovascular and Stroke Research

March 09, 2011

Basic biomedical research has a greater academic impact and clinical research a greater societal impact over a 15 to 20 years timescale, according to the findings of Project Retrosight — a multinational, four-year study from RAND Europe and the Health Economics Research Group (HERG) at Brunel University. This study was based on data collected from 29 case studies on basic biomedical and clinical cardiovascular and stroke grant-funded, research projects in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. In a press release, Steven Wooding, researcher leader at RAND Europe, said: "The study showed that research is important, that it has real tangible benefits for society and that how you fund it matters. If you want to make a difference to patients over a 15-20 year time-scale, clinical research is more effective. If you want to build knowledge for the longer-term, then basic research is better."

Utilizing the payback framework, the RAND researchers examined the diversity of impact produced by those projects and indentified the factors associated with high and low levels of payback. The payback framework is a model that allows researchers to examine the research funding process and understand research impact. Two impact groupings were identified for this study — academic impact (i.e., affecting science and/or the research system) and "wider impact" (i.e., affecting broader society directly in one way or another). The researchers categorized two payback categories (knowledge production and research targeting and capacity building) under the academic impact grouping. Under "wider impacts," payback categories (broader economic benefits, informing policy and product development and health sector benefits) were grouped.

Four other key finds were discussed in the report, including:

  • A large and diverse range of impacts arose from the 29 grants studied.
  • There is no correlation between knowledge production and wider impacts
  • The majority of economic impacts identified come from a minority of projects.
  • The researchers identified factors that appear to be associated with high and low impact.

Read the full report ...

Internationalrecent research, economic impact