Performance monitoring and evaluation

We want to understand the impact of our research and how it helps achieve the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) mission to improve human health. Performance monitoring and evaluation is how we understand this impact, as it seeks to reveal the quality of the research we fund, and the processes needed to expand its impact.

How MRC evaluates research

We continually improve the monitoring of input and output of our research portfolio and the methodology and techniques for assessing research impact. Additionally, we collaborate with other research funding agencies to evolve stronger principles and policies to ensure robust evaluation. These include openness and use of the FAIR principles.

Recent MRC monitoring and evaluation reports

MRC COVID-19 response

2020 presented a global health threat in the high transmission and mortality impact of the SAR-CoV-2 virus. MRC provided leadership and support to rally the UK biomedical community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The actions, outputs and impacts of MRC’s response are documented in three reports:

10 year MRC translation research evaluation report

The 10 year MRC translation research evaluation report looks at MRC’s support for translational research and the progress made since MRC increased its commitment to translation in the academic year 2008 to 2009.

The evaluation explores:

  • what MRC translational research has delivered
  • the national and international context for translational research
  • issues to address in future funding.

Review of Health Systems Research Initiative

The joint funders of Health Systems Research Initiative commissioned an independent review of the scheme. This was to understand the impact of Health Systems Research Initiative (HSRI) funding and to determine if it was delivering its core aims.

See the full report, infographic and appendices.

Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative

In 2015, the MRC Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative (CRII) set out to fund innovative technologies in areas of strategic opportunity. This report reviews the outputs and outcomes of this initiative and discusses the insights that might be applied to future infrastructure funding initiatives.

Read the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative (2019) report.

What’s It Worth

Analysis of the economic benefits of medical research:

The impact of UK research in Europe

The impact of UK research in Europe (2017) report identifies some of the main ways in which UK research contributes to medical progress, it highlights the benefit this has delivered for EU science, and ultimately how this has improved the health of patients across the EU.

Read the report on Cancer Research UK.

Data sources

We have a number of available databases recording research activity at an individual, national and global level that offer opportunities for analysis of the research landscape by outcome, by field, and by location. Data from these resources combined with other information form the basis for our evaluation reports.


Ten years of outcomes from 2011 to 2020 reported by MRC-funded projects including:

  • 117,000 publications
  • 22,600 collaborations
  • more than £14.3 billion of further funding
  • 10,100 research materials.

UK Health Research Classification System (HRCS)

The HRCS is used to classify biomedical research awards by area of health/disease and the type of research being carried out. The  most recent UK report (PDF, 6.9MB) in 2018 is the largest ever analysis of the UK health research funding landscape, covering 146 organisations, over 22,000 awards and an estimated £4.8 billion spend in 2018.

UK and global research funding databases

Gateway to Research is a database of UK publicly funded research projects.

World RePORT is a database of research projects funded by 12 international funders around the globe.

Previous evaluation reports

MRC impact reports

Download MRC impact reports up to 2017.

Impacts arising from MRC supported institutes and major investments.

Outputs, outcomes and impact of MRC research

Download the reports and quantitative analysis.

Last updated: 7 December 2023

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.