Researchfish for Supervisors

Funders are regularly asked to demonstrate the impact of their funding – including the impact of supporting postgraduate training. Research Councils collect 'outcome' information from studentship funding, such as publications and collaborations via Researchfish. Funders use this information for communicating about what has arisen from the research they fund, and it is vital information for them in securing ongoing funding from the government for research in the current climate. The more funders can demonstrate value-for-money, the more funding will be available in the future for research grants and studentships.

UK Research Councils require submissions from Students in the 3rd year of their funding, during the lifetime of the award, and usually for up to three years after the end of the award.

When using researchfish, students:

  • can add / edit their information all year round
  • must submit their return during the annual data submission period. 
  • receive a reminder email directly from Researchfish shortly before the submission period opens. 

As a supervisor, what do I need to do?

For each student, you should receive an email from Researchfish inviting you to become a 'Team Member' on their studentship. This means that you can see the data they have entered and provide further information via your own Researchfish account. Other people, e.g. other supervisors, can also be added as team members on a studentship.

As a supervisor, your input to this process is not essential, although if you already have experience of reporting to Researchfish then you may wish to help advise on the type of information to provide. The responsibility to submit the information rests with the student. However, you should encourage them to submit data since this will enhance the evidence base for the impact of student funding provided by the Research Councils. Institutional compliance may also be considered in making future doctoral training awards.

If you have been added to a student's record who you no longer supervise, you should contact Note that only the student can make the final submission. 

FAQs from funders

UKRI and NIHR have provided their own Researchfish FAQs which students, graduates and Supervisors may find helpful.

Some common questions and answers are listed below

My Supervisee has not received an invitation from Researchfish / is not included on the Researchfish dashboard

At present the requirement for students and graduates to submit outcomes on Researchfish is only for those who are funded by the UK Research Councils and NIHR. Student and graduates will only be included in Researchfish if they are funded by one of the seven UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC and STFC) or NIHR.

Students will only be invided to complete a Research fish submission when they enter their third year of study. Current first and second year UKRI funded postgraduate researchers do not need to submit their outcomes during the current submission period. Current first and second year UKRI funded postgraduate researchers will not be able to register for Researchfish at the moment but their awards will be added to the Researchfish system at a later date. Once the awards are added to the system they will receive an email from Researchfish Ltd, and at that time will be able to begin adding outcomes.

If your postgraduate researcher/graduate is a Research Council funded postgraduate researcher in year 3+ or an NIHR funded student and has not received an email with login details or has problems accessing their Researchfish account they will need to contact the Researchfish help desk via  Alternatively, they can use the Researchfish automated system to resend themself their login details via:

My Supervisee has completed their course and left the University, do they still need to complete the survey?

UKRI will continue to ask postgraduate researchers/graduates to complete the Researchfish return for up to 3 years beyond the end of the studentship and NIHR will continue to ask students/graduates to complete the Researchfish return for up to 5 years beyond the end of the studentship. If your supervisee has been asked to complete the survey and falls within these time periods, they should complete it.

If there is nothing new to return, they may be able to submit a nil return. Please note Research Councils may publish details of the outcomes that students enter through various channels including

Studentship award details on Researchfish are incorrect, how can these be amended?

Please email to let us know what changes are required. Researchfish are unable to change award details unless they receive a request from The University and agreement from the funder.

My Supervisee has withdrawn or is interrupting, but is included in the Researchfish population

Please email to let us know

In December 2019 a list of withdrawn students was submitted to the funding councils, when these changes are processed the response codes should be updated in Researchfish

My Supervisee is/was on a taught postgraduate programme, do they still need to complete the survey?

If the student is currently funded by NIHR or has completed and is within 5 years of the end date of their NIHR funding they will need to complete the survey

The NIHR Evaluation Team have confirmed that "As well as the main outcomes, we have included additional questions as part of an NIHR career tracker. These questions will be aimed at those trainees who have completed their award since the last submission in order to collect information on their career progression".

Due to the nature of the contract arrangements, NIHR expect all trainees to submit. All trainees are free to only complete the sections that are relevant to their research and a ‘nil return’ is acceptable if appropriate and this is expected rather than not submitting at all."

Can an extension to the submission deadline be requested from Researchfish?

Students and graduates can add information to Researchfish at any time, but it can only be submitted once a year in the defined submission period. The submission deadline cannot be extended as it is a national deadline for all funded researchers (staff, students and graduates). After 1600 hours on 12 March 2020 the submission window will close. Information added after 12 March 2020 can be submitted during the next submission period.

Do Supervisees still need to submit if they have no outcomes to report?

Yes, students and graduates are still expected to complete the submission process, even if there are no outputs to report. If there are no outcomes to return students and graduates should submit a nil return. Funders understand that an award which has started recently is unlikely to have any outputs reported against it.

Some funders e.g. BBSRC have ‘Additional Questions’ that are mandatory, in which case it will not be possible to submit the return until these have been completed. However for some of these entering ‘No’ or 'N/A' in these sections will allow completion of submission.

Students and graduates may be able to report outcomes other than publications such as conference attendance (including presentations), internships and placements, collaborations and partnerships, funding (including travel and small grants) or engagement activities (including schools visits and outreach).  Students/graduates should therefore be able to submit one or more outcomes by the time they have completed. There is no requirement to submit a minimum or maximum number of any particular outcome type under the ‘Common Outcomes’: What to submit is a decision for students and graduates, who need to be happy that data submitted against their award is accurate and up to date. Please note Research Councils may publish details of the outcomes that students enter through various channels including

Can a supervisor submit on a student's or graduate’s behalf?

Submitting to Researchfish is the responsibility of the student or graduate, supervisors are able to assist with the submission process but are not able to submit the return on behalf of students or graduates.

Researchfish adds primary supervisors to studentships as Team Members so they are able to review and edit outcome information, or provide advice. Student and graduates are able to grant access to primary supervisors if this has not happened automatically and/or to additional supervisory team members or other academic staff if necessary. Instructions on how they can do this can be found here:

Primary supervisors should have received an invitation email from Researchfish to this effect. If primary supervisors haven’t received this or have trouble accessing the award they should contact the Researchfish support team for further guidance.

What happens if students or graduates do not submit?

The University’s overall return rates (staff, students and graduates) will be considered in any future doctoral training funding calls. A low institutional return rate is likely to be detrimental to any future bids.

The following may be helpful when encouraging students / graduates to complete their Researchfish submission:

  • Most data submitted to Researchfish in relation to UKRI-funded research will appear in the public domain on the UKRI Gateway to Publicly Funded Research and Innovation site so it may be good for students’/graduates' careers as a way of publicising what they have done to a wider audience.
  • If graduates are going into academia they are likely to need to report on other funded grants in the future and can build up a portfolio of research outputs on Researchfish. They only need one Researchfish account which will record all grants awarded.

Supervisors may find this UKRI guidance document and the NIHR Researchfish Update 2019 web page helpful.

How can we get submissions from students who have left?

For most of the graduates who have completed during the relevant period there is a personal email address on Researchfish which has been used to contact them individually. Wheer a supervisor remains in contact with their supervisees, their help in encouraging alumni submission is greatly appreciated.

UKRI graduates are asked to submit their outcomes for up to three years after the end of the studentship, but they will not contribute to the University’s Researchfish compliance statistics.

NIHR graduates are asked to submit their outcomes for up to five years after the end of the studentship.

What is the University doing to monitor and encourage submission by students and graduates?

Submission data is monittored regulalry within the Researchfish system, and the team within Research and Innovation will send email reminders towards the end of the submission period to students and graduates who have yet to submit. Regular email reminders are also sent by Researchfish.