UKRI publishes new report on responsible research assessment

Quality control icons with laptop in background

The report aims to enable funding bodies around the world to improve assessment approaches to support a fairer, more diverse and thriving research culture.

The Responsible Research Assessment (RRA) report (PDF, 4.4MB) was launched at the annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC).

The report is published by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in partnership with:

  • National Research Foundation
  • UK Forum for Responsible Research Metrics
  • GRC.

Virtual conference

The report is the outcome of a virtual conference on RRA held in November 2020.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

The assessment criteria we use for research and researchers have a major impact on research culture. What we measure matters.

The challenge, when we came together to discuss responsible research assessment in November 2020, was to create more inclusive assessment that truly values and supports excellence, recognising that excellence comes from diversity with collaboration.

I am delighted those discussions have resulted in the report published today, which encourages the adoption of a broad set of principles that will enable our global research and innovation system to thrive.

The five global values of RRA

The report addresses five key areas:

Assessment shapes culture

Research assessment, and what the community values, influence how research is performed.

Diversity creates excellence

The definition of research excellence needs to be broad and encompass perspectives and experiences from people of all backgrounds.

Fostering a healthy system

Funders should employ clear criteria, relevant indicators, and regular self-evaluation.

Research is global

Funders’ assessment approaches must be mindful of local context, culture, language and unintended consequences which can impact other countries.

Stakeholders are vital in enacting change

all stakeholders should collaborate to develop and evaluate RRA and resist shifting blame to other parties.

Over 1,000 participants

The 2020 RRA conference was led by Research England, which is part of UKRI.

It saw more than 1,000 individuals registering from funding agencies from around the world to discuss how to progress funder approaches to RRA.

Research England Executive Chair David Sweeney said:

The GRC RRA conference engaged global funding agencies and many other stakeholders on this important topic. The conference summary report provides the GRC with a rich foundation for their future work on the topic.

Built on global collaboration

To watch all the sessions from the 2020 RRA conference, visit the GRC YouTube channel.

The release of this report is timed with the ninth annual meeting of the GRC, where the report and broader topic of RRA is being discussed.

This years’ annual meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa, but is now taking place between 24-28 May 2021 using a fully virtual platform.

This animation highlights some of the key points from the report and reflects some of the discussions held at the conference:

Video credit: Cass Productions
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript is available on YouTube.

Top image:  Credit: anyaberkut/GettyImages

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.