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 is investigating the contributions of Quality Related block funding using practical examples from the University of Cambridge, through case studies and data analysis. It will set these examples in the context of the historical development of QR funding; and the theoretical economic and philosophical arguments around different methods of research funding allocation. It is intended to produce illustrative findings and develop methods that could be applied in other universities.

Scoping work identified six principal interconnected channels through which QR funding supports research and the wider research and academic system:

  • Providing space for creativity and nurturing new ideas
  • Establishing new researchers
  • Maintaining continuity, allowing a diverse research capacity to allow rapid responses to unforeseen circumstances
  • Supporting the integration of teaching and research by allowing leading research academics remain engaged in teaching
  • Covering some of the unmet costs of research supported from other sources
  • Allowing both of academic and policy focussed knowledge synthesis

This project is exploring current examples; the historical evolution; and theoretical basis for each of these channels; and how their importance varies by disciplinary area.

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