For some time, researchers have been interested in the value of health research: both basic research on biomedical processes and behavioral/social research focused on health and aging. Estimating the value of medical research has been difficult, however. Data limitations make research challenging, there can be disagreement across or within disciplines on the appropriate theoretical and methodological frameworks to adopt, and few researchers have a broad enough background across the relevant areas to conduct the necessary applied research. We propose to organize a network of primarily US and UK-based researchers who are interested in the impact and design of health research, to gather this group regularly, and to stimulate new research on the value of health research from that group and related others. We will gather people from diverse backgrounds, including many sub disciplines of economics as well as epidemiology, medical research, and other social sciences. The group will be jointly organized under the auspices of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the United States and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in the United Kingdom. Project activities will consist of regular gatherings of the research network;seed grants for high risk, interdisciplinary projects, especially oriented to younger researchers;and educational activities open to researchers inside and outside of the network.
Understanding the value of research is central to many public policy questions, including how much to fund public research agencies, how to value the output of public and private research enterprises, and how to maximize the output of the research sector. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of health and ageing research. This project will contribute to our understanding of these issues by creating a network of researchers working on related topics, by directly supporting relevant research and by encouraging a new wave of researchers to work on these topics.