Maximising the impact of cancer research through a co-produced framework

Macmillan Cancer Support – Research Evaluation Framework

We designed a framework for Macmillan to help researchers receiving grants from the charity to map and demonstrate their impact.

What we did

From the outset, the framework was co-produced with people affected by cancer. We and Macmillan believed it crucial that their interpretation of impact – what would make a difference to them – should be at the heart of the work. They helped to co-produce the Theory of Change which underpins the framework and supported other elements of the project, including accompanying us to interviews we conducted with health impact specialists.

Hearing from grant recipients was also important, both to understand the impact of previous grant-funded research; the practical challenges of maximising impact; and to draw out implications for the new framework.

The framework itself sets out how Macmillan will work with researchers; what the charity is aiming to achieve (outcomes); how grant holders should plan for impact; and how impact evidence should be collected.

The framework remains a popular resource beyond Macmillan and is one of the most popular results  on the internet when searching for the term ‘research impact framework’.

What we learned

Coproduction is an exciting and hugely beneficial way of ensuring that the views and needs of the people you want to support are at the heart of what you’re doing; but it takes courage – you have to genuinely give over power and control
Theory of Change is a very useful means of establishing a structure for a project or intervention’s outcomes in a way that is both logical and understandable to non-specialists
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