OHE has been awarded the status of Independent Research Organisation (IRO) by Research Councils UK. This blog comments on the significance of this achievement.
OHE is delighted to announce that we have been awarded Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status. This has been granted by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which – through the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England – allocates more than £7 billion in research funding, primarily from the Science Budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). IRO status is a recognition of OHE’s high quality of independent research, and places us on equal footing with the UK’s Higher Education Institutions, making us eligible to apply for UKRI funding on the same terms.
The application process for IRO status is a long and challenging one. For OHE, this has taken three years of hard work and plenty of form filling (see here for the requirements)! In obtaining IRO status, OHE joins a highly selective list of organisations conducting research in health economics (and related areas), namely: the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen); the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR); Nesta; the Overseas Development Institute (ODI); Rand Europe; and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Across the UK, there are only 63 IROs in total across all research fields, including areas as diverse as medicine, defence studies, history, and oceanography.
Professor Graham Cookson, OHE’s Chief Executive: We are all rightly proud of this achievement that puts OHE on an equal footing with the UK’s research heavy weights – from the University of Oxford to the Wellcome Trust – and recognises our important contribution to research on the economics of health and health care globally. The current global pandemic reinforces the need for scientifically robust, evidence-based policymaking and OHE will continue to contribute to delivering valuable insights and improving decision making.
Founded in 1962 by the ABPI, OHE is the world’s oldest health economics research centre. For nearly 60 years, OHE has produced world-leading insights on the health and life sciences sectors, and is considered a pioneer across a number of fields including the regulation of pharmaceutical pricing and the reimbursement of pharmaceutical product value, but is best known for its extensive work on the opportunity cost of health care investments. Becoming a charity in 2016 was a significant milestone on OHE’s journey towards greater independence and global prominence, and the quality and independence of our research has now been officially recognised by the UK government. Our research has been published in the most prestigious scientific journals including among others Journal of Health Economics, Health Economics, The Lancet, Value in Health, Social Science and Medicine, and Plos One. We attract funding from major research institutions including the Health Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, Cancer Research UK, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. In 2019 alone, OHE was awarded 8 new research projects with a combined value of £580k. Also in 2019, OHE published 23 papers in peer reviewed journals,13 externally reviewed OHE working papers, and held 5 lunchtime seminars on a variety of health policy research subjects.
Professor Mike Drummond, Chair of OHE’s Board of Trustees: The granting of IRO status is further external recognition of the quality and excellence of OHE’s research programme. Although the reputation of OHE within the health services research community has been high for some time, it is a pleasure to see that this is now recognised more widely. OHE’s independent Research Committee, which I Chair on behalf of the Trustees, will continue to work with OHE’s researchers to ensure that their work is of high quality and high relevance to health care in the UK and overseas.
Professor Mireia Jofre-Bonet, OHE’s Head of Research: Achieving the status of Independent Research Organisation is the culmination of a long administrative process, but critically it recognises and rewards years of dedicated research and hard work by a team of world-leading academics at OHE past and present. It certifies the independence of our research and widens OHE’s access to future funding.