Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

New framework launched to define and evidence NIHR’s progress

Published: 26 September 2023

The NIHR has launched a new, systematic and transparent way of describing the benefits it wants to achieve for patients, the public and the economy.

The NIHR Outcomes Framework defines and evidences what progress looks like in key areas. These are areas where the NIHR wants to make a positive change for the people it serves. The Framework will help to track and learn from progress towards achieving these outcomes.

As part of the launch of the new framework, the NIHR has today published its first Outcomes Framework report on how it is addressing needs. Within this report, the NIHR provides evidence of its commitment to prioritising the diverse needs of patients, carers and communities, and of ensuring our research is accessible, inclusive, impactful and meaningful.

More evidence will be collected and published to give an indication of how NIHR activities are contributing to achieving its mission, and where NIHR needs to change to do this.

Defining our ambitions and tracking progress

In 2021, the NIHR set out its key priorities in Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter. The NIHR Outcomes Framework is designed to track progress against these priorities and adjust course as needed.

What's included in the framework

The framework has 20 outcomes divided into four domains:

  1. Addressing Needs
  2. Economic Benefit
  3. Effective Research
  4. Productive Partnerships

Each domain has five outcomes that each describe a change NIHR wants to achieve in that area. Each outcome has one or two indicators that we will use to track its progress towards achieving that outcome.

Addressing needs

  • The NIHR will publish four domain reports over the next few years. The first Outcomes Framework report is about ‘Addressing Needs’. It examines:
  • how our research leads to better health outcomes, innovative products and services, and evidence-led changes to policy and practice
  • how well NIHR research prioritises the health and social care needs of the public
  • whether our research takes place in diverse regions and settings
  • the extent to which our research findings are widely-cited and free to access
  • how our activities contribute to reducing health inequalities and improving outcomes for people and communities under-served by research

Transparency and accountability

No single outcome or indicator can tell the full story of all the NIHR is achieving, but they will offer a snapshot into important processes and activities.

The NIHR will collect and publish data on progress on a regular basis, providing transparency, accountability and a commitment to improvement to our partners and stakeholders. It will use this data to learn and to guide decision making.

The NIHR Outcomes Framework is a ‘living’ and dynamic framework. This means that the outcomes and indicators will evolve as data and methods evolve, and in response to the changing needs of the people we serve.

How the framework was developed

The framework was developed in collaboration with over 400 partners and stakeholders. These include people across NIHR, government, the research community, patients and the public. This means that not every outcome will be relevant to everyone, but taken together the framework represents our collective aspirations.

Latest news