Making a difference: Impact Report 2019

Medical research charities are committed to funding research that positively impacts people living with health conditions or diseases. For many charities, this is only made possible through public donations and so charities must let the public know how their money is being spent and what impact it is having.

The pathway to impact is rarely linear. Instead, it often involves many different funders and research teams over a long period of time. This cumulative nature of impact makes it challenging to track in an effective way.

AMRC is helping a number of our members use an online tool called Researchfish that allows them to collect data on the outcomes of their research funding over time. Collecting data in this consistent way allows us to pool data together from many different charities and perform an in-depth cross-sector analysis of the outcomes of the research funded by our members.

This report follows on from our initial 2017 impact report, incorporating two more years of data and new stories of how charity-funded research has impacted patients and society. The report is structured around the five areas of impact shown below.

For a PDF version of this report please contact our Communications Officer, Leo.

If you have any questions please contact our Research, Data and Impact Manager, Jocelyn.

With thanks to the Medical Research Council, Researchfish, and participating charities.


Funders use a number of types of awards to support research, ranging from short ‘pilot’ grants to large multi-project ‘programme’ grants, and from studentships to support trainee researchers ‘PhD awards’ to ‘chairs’ supporting senior academics. As part of this analysis, we were keen to examine whether any trends in outputs reported for different types of awards. Of the portfolio:

  • 69% were projects (for example, projects, programmes or clinical trials)
  • 25% supported people (for example, fellowships, studentships, lectureships, etc.)
  • 4% were for infrastructure (for example, equipment, units, etc.)

A table with a full breakdown of all the grant types can be downloaded here.

For many funders, project and people awards are the major way in which they give money. We have used two graphs to explore the effect of award type on output number – one for outputs where the average was above 1.0, and one for where it was below 1.0.

Comparing the average number of outputs for both award types, we can see that in most areas of impact, there is not much difference between the two types. However, projects do have a higher average number of publications, tools and methods, IP, spin outs, and partnerships and on average people awards had slightly more instances of technical products and databases and models.

You can download a full breakdown of outcomes by grant type here.