Introducing The DSIT/UKRI Metascience Unit

Closes 31 Jul 2024

Opened 2 Feb 2024


Do you work on a Research and Development (R&D) funding programme? Would you be interested in participating in ‘research on research’ to improve how we fund and support R&D? 

We all understand the value of funding research and innovation. Despite this, it’s not very common for funders to apply scientific methods to identify more effective ways to achieve their goals. 

However, there are plenty of opportunities to run robust experiments and become more evidence based about our processes. In other words, we need more metascience research (a.k.a ‘science-on-science’ or ‘research-on-research’). 

Some topics where we think an experimental approach may help us address common challenges include:

  • How can we encourage applications from researchers or institutions that do not typically apply for our funding?
  • How can we increase acceptance rates when inviting experts to participate in peer review?
  • Where breakthrough research is the goal, how do we ensure our assessment processes reward more novel lines of inquiry?
  • How can we encourage more grant holders to stick to their spend profiles?

Why your views matter

The DSIT/UKRI Metascience Unit has resource, technical expertise, and the backing of leaders in UKRI, DSIT and No10, to run experiments. These experiments will be academically rigorous, of publishable quality, and of interest to a wide international community of governments, funders, and researchers. 

The Unit wants to harness the creativity of UKRI staff, build on current innovations, and make use of the scale of UKRI’s funding to develop rigorous experiments that can provide real confidence that different approaches bring benefits to the R&D system.

We are now looking for volunteer programmes across UKRI to do some metascience with us. Volunteers may come with a particular policy challenge they want to address or may be open to helping us on topics we have already identified. 

Share your metascience ideas


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