Making a difference: Impact Report 2021

Medical research charities are an integral part of the UK’s health research system. They respond to the priorities of people living in the UK and ensure that research into diseases and medical conditions is relevant, necessary and impactful. They fund research at all stages of the pathway from the lab to the clinic and support the people and infrastructure behind the research. In this way, they enable breakthroughs that would not otherwise have been possible.

Tracking and demonstrating impact is not easy or straightforward. Transformative breakthroughs involve many different players working collaboratively and in sequence, often in non-linear paths and involving dead-ends or unexpected turns. And most of all, impact takes time. For charities to map their contribution to these breakthroughs, they must routinely collect research outputs and outcomes – steps along the way to impact - from their researchers.

Some AMRC members use an online tool called Researchfish that allows them to collect the outputs and outcomes of their research funding from researchers over time. Collecting data in this consistent way allows us to pool data together from many different charities and perform a cross-sector analysis of the outcomes of the research funded by our members. In addition, because other major funders in the UK use the platform, it allows us to look at AMRC data in a wider context of public funding.

We are proud to share this new report that shows what research funded by AMRC members can achieve, highlights examples of excellence, and puts charities’ role into the context of the wider research system. It follows on from our 2017 and 2019 impact reports, incorporating three more years of Researchfish data and new stories of how charity-funded research has impacted patients and society. The report is structured around three important ways in which charities add immense value:

  • Meeting the needs of patients
  • Boosting researchers’ careers
  • Supporting the research system

You can download a PDF version of this report and there is also an accompanying infographic.

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

We would like to thank the Medical Research Council, Interfolio UK, and all participating organisations for making this report possible.

This report was published on 15 November 2021.