The University of Southampton

Using Researchfish to record research impact

Find out about Researchfish and how we use it to track and record the outcomes and impact of our world-leading research.

What is Researchfish? 

Researchfish is an online survey that collects research outcomes for funders to help them track the impacts of their investments. You can see the full list of public and charitable funders here.

Frequently asked Researchfish questions

What's new in Researchfish?

If you have used Researchfish before you will notice a new user interface and layout. Please take a few moments to review the Help and Support section.

I’m a Principal Investigator - what do I need to do?

As a Principal Investigator (PI) you are required to provide research outcomes information for each grant you hold. Your funder will contact you ahead of the submission period using the email address you have provided; for RCUK awards, this is the address that is listed in Je-S.

If you have not used Researchfish before, you will need to register – details are available in the personalised email you will receive. A response is expected for all current grants and those which have ended in the past five years. See the FAQ 'What are Response Codes?' below for details about exemptions.

What is a submission period?

Research outcomes information for each grant can be provided at any time and some PIs choose to update their grants regularly during the year. A submission period is the window in which PIs need to complete the outcomes information and press the red SUBMIT button (which is only visible during this period). Failure to do so could result in sanctions. For RCUK, the next submission period runs from 5 February to 15 March 2018. Submission periods for other funders may differ.

Is it mandatory that I submit outcomes for my grant and do sanctions apply?

Yes. It is a now a condition of receiving funding from Research Councils UK and some other funders that the Principal Investigator (PI) completes Researchfish with an annual update of information relating to research outcomes.

If the required annual update for an award is not submitted on time, the funder may apply sanctions such as withholding payments for current awards or preventing researchers from applying (either as a Principal Investigator or as a Co-Investigator) for further awards from any Research Council. Since 2014, a harmonised cross-Council Sanctions Policy has applied to all RCUK-funded award holders. Some funders have sanctions which apply at the institutional level (eg grant payments are withheld).

What should I do if I don’t have any outcomes to report?

Where there are no new outcomes to report, you can indicate this by adding “not applicable this year” as an answer to the mandatory questions. In such cases you must still click the SUBMIT button within the submission period to comply with funder requirements. Researchers also have the opportunity to discuss with RCUK when they feel that no further outcomes will arise from an award and request that the award is ‘closed’ in Researchfish. If you think this is the case, you should contact

Do I need to submit outcomes for a grant that ended several years ago?

For RCUK, Students and Principal Investigators are asked to provide updates annually during the period of the awards and usually for five years after their awards have finished. Other funders may have different policies.

Where there are no new outcomes to submit, you can indicate this by adding “not applicable this year” as an answer to the mandatory questions, and clicking the SUBMIT button in the usual manner.

Researchers also have the opportunity to discuss with RCUK when they feel that no further outcomes will arise from an award and request that the award is ‘closed’ in Researchfish. If you think this is the case, you can contact

What are Response Codes?

Response codes are used by RCUK and other funders to define the status of each award. The RCUK definitions are show below for Principal Investigators (PI) and Students.

Principal Investigators (PI)
[1] A submission is required by the end of the Submission Period. Non-submission will trigger the Sanctions Policy.

[2] No submission is expected this year. The Principal Investigator has been granted a one year exemption, usually because of long term sickness or parental leave.

[3] No further submissions are expected against this award, which is excluded from the Submission Period. This response code is normally used when the award holder is known to be no longer active in research or where it is certain no further outcomes will be expected from an award.

[4] The award holder is required to make a submission by the end of the Submission Period but is no longer at the University. The award will not contribute to the University’s compliance statistics but non-submission will trigger the Sanctions Policy for the individual.

[5] The Principal Investigator (PI) is no longer expected to make a submission, but may do so if they wish to add new outcomes.

PIs with a mixture of awards with response codes 1 and 5 or 4 and 5, will be informed when the Submission Period has opened and will receive reminders to encourage timely submission of research outcomes to help them avoid sanctions. PIs with only response code 5 awards will be informed that the Submission Period has begun and that they may add outcomes to their awards if they wish.

[1] A submission is required by the end of the Submission Period#.

[2] No submission will be asked for this year as the Student has been granted a one-year exemption.

[3] No further submissions are expected against this Studentship which is excluded from the Submission Period.

[4] Student will be asked to make a submission but their funding end-date is before the submission period starts (ie end-date falls on or before 4 February 2018).

[5] Student will be asked if they wish to make a submission by the end of the Submission Period (funding finished a significant period of time ago, typically more than 5 years)

# For the purposes of compliance statistics, a Student will be counted as being at the research organisation where they are registered and not the one where they may actually be working.


How will I be contacted?

Emails from RCUK and/or Researchfish will be sent to the email address for each PI that is held by the funder; for RCUK awards and studentships this is the email address listed in Je-S. All communications from funders are with the PI or Student directly. PIs can nominate delegates to help them complete information on their grants but the PI is responsible for the final submission on the system.

What should I do if I am no longer at the University or am on a period of extended leave?

The University has a responsibility to confirm annually with the Research Councils which grants are expected to complete an annual outcomes submission and for ensuring compliance of grant holders at their organisation. If there are reasons why this is not possible or appropriate, the University is able to flag an award accordingly. Please contact if you think this applies to you.

What should I do if I can’t see one of my awards?

Awards are added to Researchfish when your funder supplies them with the required information. For example, the refresh of all RCUK data on Researchfish takes place in the first few weeks of November using information stored in Je-S. This also includes response code changes that RCUK wish to make ahead of the next survey. This process should trigger system-generated invitations to new RCUK grant holders to register with the system, and to existing users to register new awards. Depending how frequently your funder supplies this information, a new award may not appear in the system immediately. In some cases your award may be listed against a different individual (eg a previous PI).

If you have issues with the Researchfish system, please contact

If you have queries related to an RCUK award, please contact

For other awards, please contact your funder.



What information do I need to provide?

In addition to publications, RCUK is interested in the full range of outcome types including, for example, the development of products (medical, technical and artistic), influences on policy setting and any impact arising from research. For a full list of all the outcome types please log-in to Researchfish to see the Common Question Set.

Please do not add any confidential, sensitive or personal information to Researchfish as outcomes submitted may be made public, for example, through Gateway to Research

Should PhD students submit outcomes for their studentships?

Only students in the third year onwards will be asked to submit their outcomes. For the 2018 submission period this means students whose awards started on or before 4 February 2016##. There are some exemptions (eg absence on maternity leave or long-term sickness) and if you feel you should not be included in the survey, please contact your Faculty Student Support Team.

## A small number of Students were included in the 2016 Submission Period whose studentship started after 5 February 2015. To keep things simple, RCUK has taken the decision not to remove these students from the system and will still ask them to submit.


How long after the award ends do RCUK-funded Students need to complete Researchfish?

In most cases this is five years after the award has ended. However, Councils may vary the period to greater or less than five years for particular grant schemes.

As a PhD student, how do I know if I need to complete Researchfish?

An email will be sent to you and your primary supervisor explaining data collection via Researchfish. First-time users will need to register an account with Researchfish using the link provided in the email.

Research outcomes can be entered or updated in Researchfish at any time but you will need to log-on and submit a return during the annual data submission period (see FAQ 'What is a submission period?' above) to confirm that the information is accurate and complete. The next submission period runs from 5 February to 15 March 2018 and you will receive reminder emails closer to the time.


Can I use my Pure entries to copy and paste information into Researchfish?

You can copy and paste any information you enter in to Pure by extracting the data as a Word document, for example:

  • Select, eg ‘Impacts’ from the left-hand navigation menu;
  • Select ‘Word’ from the download list options at the bottom of the screen;
  • Select render style ‘Long’;
  • Copy and paste any information from the Word document in to your Researchfish entry

What happens to my data?

RCUK wants to exploit the research outcomes data information fully and share with others so as to convey the quality and impact of the UK research base. Outcomes information from Researchfish is published via the RCUK Gateway to Research. Funders also provide summary reports, some of which can be seen here.

Where can I find further information?

• You can access Researchfish “Help and Supporthere including videos and a user guide. Live Chat can be found under the “Contact us” icon and is available from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. FAQs are available here. This information is also available once you have logged-in.

• Researchfish hosts regular webinars where you can learn how to use the system or look in more detail at particular areas of functionality. New users are encouraged to sign up for these free short sessions.

• Useful links:

British Heart Foundation

Cancer Research UK

Who should I contact if I have problems with Researchfish?

• If you have issues with the Researchfish system (eg logging in or technical issues), please contact their support team at

• If you have queries related to an RCUK award please contact

• For other awards, please contact your funder.

• For all other enquiries please contact

Faculty Student Support Team

Faculty Contact
Business, Law & Art
Engineering & the Environment
Health Sciences
Natural & Environmental Sciences
Physical Sciences & Engineering
Social, Human & Mathematical Sciences

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.