Research on Research Institute launches to make research more strategic, open, diverse and inclusive

  • New institute co-founded by Wellcome Trust, Digital Science and the universities of Sheffield and Leiden
  • RoRI aims to create an independent space for learning, networking and collaboration between researchers, policymakers, funders and technologists
  • RoRI releases research funding landscape tools and the first in a series of working papers

Research on Research Institute

A new Research on Research Institute (RoRI) has launched today to bring together an international consortium of research funders, academic institutions and technologists to advance more strategic, open, diverse and inclusive research.

Co-founded by the Wellcome Trust, Digital Science, UKRI and the universities of Sheffield and Leiden, the RoRI consortium will undertake transformative research on research, analysing research systems and experimenting with decision and evaluation data, tools and frameworks.

The institute aims to create an independent space for learning, networking and collaboration between researchers, policymakers, funders and technologists.

RoRI will be based for an initial two-year incubation phase at Wellcome’s offices in London. To date, 10 strategic partners have expressed their interest in becoming part of the RoRI consortium, including private foundations, academic research institutions and public funding agencies from eight countries – Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA.

The consortium will co-design projects (where there is a clear shared aim) and share data, (where possible and in all parties’ interests) to inform comparative analysis of research systems and cultures, and develop, test and apply novel approaches to decision making, prioritisation, allocation and evaluation.

RoRI’s activities will include partnership projects, a rolling programme of research seminars and webinars, as well as regular reports, working papers and think-pieces. All of its research methodologies and findings will be made openly available.

Within RoRI, funders will also be able to access and use a secure data platform, hosted and managed by Wellcome as a neutral convenor and broker. This will provide a trusted space, where funders can securely share data, policies and practices for primary research and experimentation.

RoRI has today released the first of a regular series of working papers – The 21st Century PhD: Why we need better methods of tracking doctoral access, experiences and outcomes by Sally Hancock and Paul Wakeling, and AI-Assisted Peer Review: opportunities, biases and uncertainties by Alessandro Checco, Lorenzo Bracciale, Pierpaolo Loreti and Giuseppe Bianchi.

It has also launched research funding landscape tools for biomedical and health sciences, and for all sciences, developed by Ludo Waltman and colleagues at CWTS-Leiden, alongside a report that discusses how the tool can be used to support priority setting.

James Wilsdon, Director of RoRI and Digital Science Professor of Research Policy at the University of Sheffield, said: “Worldwide, interest is intensifying in how research is funded, practised and evaluated, and in how research systems can be made more efficient, open, inclusive and impactful.

“Research on research isn’t new – there is a wealth of excellent work to build on – but it can be poorly joined-up. Working with our consortium of partners, who together invest around £14 billion each year in research, RoRI has a unique opportunity to co-design and apply new methods, and experiment with creative approaches to decision making, prioritisation and evaluation.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, who is set to speak at today’s launch, said: “We are incredibly proud that our university is one of the four founding partners leading this important work. This is an example of co-designed, interdisciplinary research at its very best and we are excited to see what it will produce.

“We are extremely grateful to the Wellcome Trust and Digital Science for their support and the opportunity to work with an international consortium of research funders, technologists and data providers in a truly innovative and applied way.”

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