If your research grant, fellowship or studentship is supported by one of the research councils, you will normally be expected to report your research outcomes using researchfish.
If you don’t need to use researchfish because alternative arrangements have been agreed, it will say so in the funding opportunity.
Due to the disruption and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, reporting by students in researchfish is optional for the 2021 submission period. You should not feel under pressure to report at the expense of completing your research training.
Why we ask you to report
UKRI must demonstrate the value and impact of publicly funded research and training.
This helps us to:
- justify additional spending to government – attracting even more funding for the research community
- be transparent about what UKRI funding delivers
- effectively track and analyse the progress, productivity and impact of research
- prioritise funding efforts to meet wider strategic aims or programmes
- make research more visible and open to the public – through automatic publishing on Gateway to Research everyone can see what’s been funded and understand the benefit.
By submitting your outcomes, you acknowledge and agree to our principles of use (PDF, 146KB). The principles explain how we use the submitted data and outline our expectations of you when submitting via researchfish.
The information collected is also used in a number of our councils’ publications. See the list of publications that use researchfish data (PDF, 130KB).
What you need to report
We ask you to report your activities so that we know what has changed as a result of the support you have received from the research councils. Things you may be asked to report include:
- outputs – tangible results such as publications
- outcomes – the changes that come out of your research, such as new or improved products, processes or public policies
- impact – the wider effects, changes or benefits that can be demonstrably traced to your research – creating positive change to the economy, society, culture, public policy, health, the environment or quality of life.
What you need to report may depend on the funding opportunity. The research councils have their own guidance about reporting outcomes, including tips and best practice. See the guidance for:
- Arts and Humanities Research Council
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
- Engineering and Physical Science Research Council
- Economic and Social Research Council
- Medical Research Council
- Natural Environment Research Council
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (PDF, 1.6MB).
Reporting common outcomes
Researchfish uses a framework of ‘common outcomes’, developed by funders, which allows you to create records describing the outputs, outcomes and impacts that you attribute to research council support.
Each type of ‘common outcome’ has an associated set of questions – you can download the common questions from researchfish to see what you will be asked.
You do not need to create records in every ‘common outcome’ section, just use the ones that are relevant or important to your funding award.
This could include reporting on:
- any papers you publish, or patents applied for as a result of your research
- collaborative work with industrial or other academic partners
- how your work has contributed to public policy development
- how non-academic audiences have been informed about or involved in your work.
Each section covers a small range of ‘sub-types’. If you’re not sure which section to choose, check the researchfish list of common outcome types with sub-type (PDF, 136KB).
Additional funder’s questions
For each award you must complete a small number of additional funder’s questions. These may be different for each award and research council. They may also change during the funding lifecycle, for example, when an award period ends.
You’ll find the questions that are specific to your award listed below the common outcomes sections in researchfish.
How to report
Except where alternative arrangements have been agreed, all reporting must be done in researchfish.
- You will be sent an email by researchfish when your award has been added to their system – usually six to nine months after you have started, but sooner for awards of a short duration.
- Your email will include a unique link. You must click on the link to confirm the award is yours. If you don’t already have a researchfish account, you will be invited to create one. Please note, if you have awards from more than one research council, you’ll be sent an email by each one with different unique links. You need to follow the link in each email to confirm the award.
- Each funding award you have is listed separately. You can attribute records in the ‘common outcome’ sections to more than one award.
- You need to make sure that your outcome records are attributed to the right award, if you have more than one.
- You can create, edit and attribute your outcome records in researchfish at any time, and it is good practice to keep them up to date.
- You only confirm the accuracy of your records by submitting the information to us during an annual submission period.
- If you have awards from more than one UKRI research council, you can only submit your outcomes information to one council at a time.
See the researchfish user guide for full details about how to use the system. This includes how to:
- add common outcomes
- attribute outcomes
- add and remove team members and delegates, so you can share outcome records and assign your reporting tasks
- respond to additional funder’s questions
- submit your up-to-date records.
See our hints and tips (PDF, 32KB) for how to complete a good quality submission.
Understanding if you need to report
All awards on researchfish are given a status between 1 and 5, known as a response code.
The response code given to your award will depend on whether or not you will be asked to submit during a submission period.
Your research organisation has the opportunity to review the response codes for all of their UKRI council funded award holders ahead of the submission period. They can request changes where it is appropriate to do so.
For more information about the codes and what they mean, see our guidance about response codes (PDF, 42KB).
When to report
We have a set submission period every year for when you need to report.
The next submission period is 1 February 2021 to 11 March 2021.
Submission periods normally run for six weeks between February and March. You can add outcomes to researchfish at any time, but you can only submit during the submission period.
You will be sent email reminders of the submission deadline before and during the submission period. We also inform your research organisation’s administrator who is required to submit outcomes, including details of which awards they need to submit for.
- principal investigators, including fellows, report from early on in their project until at least five years after it ends
- doctoral students with UKRI studentships report from the third year of their studentship and for three years after it ends.
We may agree a temporary exemption from the requirement to report. Exemptions are made on a case by case basis in exceptional circumstances, for example, ill-health or lack of online access for the duration of a submission period. In such cases you or your research office should contact us as soon as possible to let us know.
With the exception of publications, we are unable to use information that has been added to researchfish but has not been submitted.
If you fail to submit anything about your funding award during the submission period, we may apply funding sanctions. This means that:
- you will lose your eligibility to be the principal investigator, or a named co-investigator, on any future UKRI funding
- we may suspend funding payments for current awards for which you are principal investigator.
These sanctions will apply until a submission has been made. See our sanctions policy in our guidance for researchers and research teams.
Get help and support with reporting
You can read our frequently asked questions for grants on researchfish (PDF, 324KB) or contact our research outcomes support team if you have questions about:
- when your award will appear in researchfish
- what or when to report
- how long you need to continue reporting
- lifting a previously incurred sanction.
Phone: 01793 444164
For any technical questions about how to report in researchfish you should contact them directly or join their live chat.
Your research organisation also has a designated person who is responsible for maintaining details of funding awards. They can help you to understand your reporting requirements, including whether you are required to submit a report in researchfish.