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The impact generated by public and charity-funded research in the UK: A systematic literature review

Gomes, D. & Stavropoulou, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4307-1848 (2019). The impact generated by public and charity-funded research in the UK: A systematic literature review. Health Research Policy and Systems, 17(1), article number 22. doi: 10.1186/s12961-019-0425-2


Objective: To identify, synthesize and critically assess the empirical evidence of the impact generated by public and charity funded health research in the United Kingdom.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review of the empirical evidence published in English in peer-reviewed journals between 2006 and 2017. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected and their findings were analysed using the Payback Framework into five main categories: knowledge, benefits to future research and research use, benefits from informing policy and product development, health and health sector benefits and broader economic benefits. We assessed the studies for risk of selection, reporting and funding bias.

Results: Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies (10 out of 13) assessed impact at multiple domains including the main 5 key themes of the Payback Framework. All of them showed a positive impact of funded research on outcomes. Of those studies, one presented low risk of bias (8%), 6 studies were classified as presenting moderate risk of bias (46%) and 6 studies presented high risk of bias (46%).

Conclusions: Empirical evidence on the impact of public and charity funded research is still limited and subject to funding and selection bias. More work is needed to establish the causal effects of funded research on academic outcomes, policy, practice and the broader economy.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Publisher Keywords: research impact, public and charity funding, evidence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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