Researchfish Frequently Asked Questions - Supervisors & PGR Directors Researchfish Frequently Asked Questions - Supervisors & PGR Directors

The Researchfish 2018 submission exercise is open for responses between Monday 5 February 2018 and 16:00 hours on Thursday 15 March 2018.

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

Firstly please ensure:

That the student is funded by one of the seven UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC and STFC) or NIHR rather than by other funders. At present the requirement for PhD students to submit their outcomes on Researchfish is for only for those who are funded by the UK Research Councils and NIHR. If you are unsure please contact the relevant team in the PGR Service.

For RCUK students - that the studentship started on or before 4 February 2016. Current first and second year students do not need to submit their outcomes during the current submission period. They 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 student is a Research Council funded student 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 or access the Researchfish 'Help and Support' website at

My Supervisee has finished their course and left the University. Do they still need to complete the survey?

Research Councils will continue to ask graduates to complete the Researchfish return for up to 3 years beyond graduation and NIHR will continue to ask graduates to complete the Researchfish return for up to 5 years beyond graduation. 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 nul return – please see “Do I still need to submit if I have no outcomes to report?” in the Students and Graduates FAQ.

The details relating to the studentship award on Researchfish are incorrect. How can these be amended?

Please contact the relevant team in the PGR Service who will amend the JeS Student Data Portal or contact the funder as necessary. Researchfish are unable to change award details.


My Supervisee is included in the Researchfish population but has withdrawn or is interrupting?

Where students have withdrawn without completing a list has been provided to the RCUK Research Outcomes team who have been asked to amend the record to ‘Response code 3 - No further submissions are expected against this Studentship. The Studentship is excluded from the Submission Period’. Where students have transferred to another institution it is requested that the record is amended to Response code 4, so that the award does not contribute to our compliance statistics.

If your student is interrupting for the entire Researchfish submission period of 5 February 2018 to 15 March 2018 inclusive and this has been formally approved and recorded on SITS, we have contacted the RCUK Research Outcomes team who have been asked to amend their record to ‘Response code 2: No submission will be asked for this year. Student has been granted a one year exemption.’

If your student is only interrupting for part of the Researchfish submission period of 5 February 2018 to 15 March 2018 inclusive they will still be required to submit.


My Advisee/Supervisee is a taught postgraduate student/graduate (e.g. undertaking the MSc in Clinical Research) - do they still need to complete the survey?

Yes, they do need to complete the survey if they are currently funded by NIHR or have completed and are within 5 years of the end date of their NIHR funding.

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, including those on the MSc in Clinical Research scheme. Whilst the sanctions will not apply to NIHR Master's students in 2018 due to the nature of the contract arrangements, we still expect all trainees to submit their portfolio to us. 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 from Researchfish be requested to the submission deadline?

No, I am afraid that there is no leeway with the deadline – it is a national one for all RCUK and NIHR funded researchers (staff and students/graduates) and after 4pm on 15 March 2018 the system will not allow submission.

Students/graduates can add information at any time, but it can only be submitted to Researchfish once a year in the defined submission period. Students/graduates can add to the information that they provide this year and submit this during the next submission period.

We recommend that students/graduates do not leave their submission to the final day as there is likely to be a high volume of system use on that day and they may experience delays as a result.


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

Yes, students/graduates are still expected to complete the submission process, even if there are no outputs to report – 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’ in these sections will be sufficient at this stage.

Students/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 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 the student/graduate, who needs to be happy that data submitted against their award is accurate and up to date.


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

No, supervisors are not able to submit the return on behalf of the student/graduate, this is the responsibility of the student/graduate.

Researchfish has added primary supervisors to studentships as Team Members so they are able to review and edit outcome information, or provide advice. Students/graduates are able to grant access to additional supervisory team members or other academic staff if necessary.

Primary supervisors should have received an invitation 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.


How can we motivate students and graduates to submit?

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

  • Most data submitted to Researchfish in relation to RCUK-funded research will appear in the public domain on the Gateway to Research 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.
  • 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.
  • The University’s overall return rates (staff and students/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.

Supervisors may find this RCUK guidance document and the NIHR Researchfish Update 2017 web page helpful.


How can we get submissions from students who have left? Their UEA email address is not valid anymore.

For most of the students/graduates who have completed during the relevant period there is a personal email address on SITS which has been used to contact them individually. Supervisors will often remain in contact with their supervisees and their help in encouraging alumni submission is greatly appreciated.

RCUK has taken the decision to change the response codes of all Studentships whose studentship end date is before 5 February 2018 from ‘1’ to ‘4’.

RCUK graduates are asked to submit their outcomes for up to three years after completion, 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 completion.

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

The PGR Service maintain a spreadsheet of students/graduates downloaded from Researchfish who will be included in the relevant submission period, which has been combined with information on School and primary supervisor obtained from SITS.

Submissions will be monitored regularly and the PGR Service will send email reminders towards the end of the submission period to those students/graduates who have yet to submit. Regular email reminders are also sent by Researchfish.

The PGR Service will also provide a list of students to School PGR Directors in the final stages of the submission period so that the School PGR Director and/or Supervisor can contact any students/graduates who have not yet submitted to try and encourage them to do so.


What support is available from Researchfish?

Help and guidance is provided throughout the Researchfish system (see the blue "?" symbol throughout). There is an online Help Centre available within the system, with FAQs, context sensitive enquiry functionality and Live Chat (available 9am to 5pm, Monday - Friday).

The Researchfish 'Help and Support' website is available at

More video tutorials are available via the dedicated Researchfish YouTube channel.

The Researchfish help desk can be contacted via


What support is available from the University?

Further information on Researchfish and the help available within UEA during the submission period can be found at this UEA page on Reporting the Results of Funded Research - Researchfish.

Researchers can also email questions regarding the use of Researchfish to

Students based at one of the NBI Institutes can access further information and guidance sessions through the NBI Intranet at http://intranet/cms/2878 (please note, this link does not work outside of NBI).

For any other queries regarding Researchfish in relation to students please contact Paul Vazquez in the UEA PGR Service via email address