Accounting for Research – the Difficulties Posed for User-Centred Research


When public money is invested in research it is necessary to have in place accounting systems that demonstrate its value. By this we mean its social as much as its economic value to society. This paper traces the collective experiences of a group of service user, professional and academic researchers about the annual reporting of research activity supported by NHS R&D Support funding. The stance taken is partisan as it represents one that defines the scope of our work within a regional NHS user-centred research programme. We critique the NHS research accounting system in England and the thinking upon which it appears to be based, suggesting that it devalues less traditional forms of research. It is argued that reductionism written into the present accounting system strips it of sensitivity to the values, operational arrangements and timescales involved in a lot of service user-centred research, and marginalises the value of many of its outputs. We set down some challenges for the redesign of the annual reporting system relating to NHS Research and Development (R & D) Support Funding.

How to Cite

Grant G. & Courtney D. & King S. & Minogue V. & Shields G. & Walsh M., (2006) “Accounting for Research – the Difficulties Posed for User-Centred Research”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 3(1). doi:








Gordon Grant
Duncan Courtney

Sarah King

Virginia Minogue

Graham Shields

Mike Walsh





Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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