Research projects

The value of QR project

Female lab scientist working with green algae blended with image of long shelves of books

Quality Related (QR) funding from Research England provides an important source of support for research in English universities, but because of the variety of ways QR funding is used it is often hard to concretely identify the ways in which this support, and its benefits, manifest themselves.

This project investigated the contributions of Quality-related research funding by exploring practical examples from the University of Cambridge, through interviews and data analysis. It set these examples in the context of the historical development of QR funding; and produced illustrative findings and develop methods that could be applied in other universities.

This project focussed on how QR funding supports activities at the research-scale as previous work has examined the strategic use of QR by institutions and its role in covering the unmet costs of research.

It identified four main areas of contribution:

  • Providing space for creativity and nurturing new ideas
  • Establishing new researchers
  • Maintaining continuity, improving the stability of research careers and retaining expertise
  • Supporting the integration of teaching and research by allowing leading research academics to remain engaged in teaching

We found that QR makes many contributions to the research environment across all disciplines supporting the conception and incubation of new ideas. Furthermore, QR can support the entire research endeavour in more theory-based disciplines such as the arts, humanities, mathematics, computer science, as well as pockets of other fields where project costs are lower.

The Research project was carried out jointly with the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and the Research Strategy Office and is supported by a grant from Research England.

Findings