How to complete an outputs management plan

We expect the researchers we fund to manage their research outputs in a way that will achieve the greatest health benefit.

These guidelines provide an overview of things to consider as you develop your outputs management plan, in line with our policy on data, software and materials management and sharing and our policy on intellectual property.

Which research outputs are included 

Your outputs management plan should set out your approach for maximising the value of the following types of outputs:

  • datasets generated by your research
  • original software created in the course of your research
  • new materials you create – like antibodies, cell lines and reagents
  • intellectual property (IP) such as patents, copyright, design rights and confidential know-how.

Research papers and scholarly monographs must be published in line with our open access policy. These don’t need to be addressed in your outputs management plan.

You will need to submit your plan as part of your grant application. Wellcome staff, the advisory committees and/or peer reviewers will assess the appropriateness and adequacy of your outputs management plan when considering your application.

As part of the end-of-grant reporting process, we will consider the extent to which outputs have been managed and shared in line with our expectations – taking into account your outputs management plan and recognising that this may have been revised as your research progressed.

Choosing the right route: output sharing or IP and commercialisation 

Outputs may be shared with end-users (openly or otherwise) or be made available commercially by licensing for a fee. 

Your outputs management plan should set out which approach is most likely to maximise the adoption and use of the output by the wider research community and the resulting health benefit.

For example, if creating a new software tool, an open approach might be appropriate if others could make immediate and sustained use of it, (for example under a GNU General Public Licence or other licence approved by the Open Source Initiative(opens in a new tab)). 

However, a commercial approach might be better if you need further funding or a commercial partner to develop, market, distribute or support the ongoing use of the software.

You should also consider whether the output would have greater value to the research community if it was incorporated into an existing commercial product or an existing open resource, rather than making it available as a standalone product.

What to include in your plan 

In your application, your plan should be:

  • clear and concise. Don’t repeat methodological detail included elsewhere in your grant application
  • proportionate to the scale of the outputs generated and their likely level of value to researchers and other users
  • focused specifically on how outputs will be identified, managed and used to advance potential health benefits
  • structured to address the key issues outlined below.

You should have a flexible and dynamic approach to outputs management. Output management plans should be living documents. You should review and adapt your plan as your research progresses so your outputs deliver the greatest health benefit.

Timely publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at conferences are important forms of dissemination, but they are not equivalent to outputs sharing. An intention to publish does not constitute an acceptable outputs management plan.

Examples of output management plans

Read some real examples of what we consider to be good output management plans. [PDF 130KB].

The examples are written by researchers working in a range of areas and at different career stages:

  • Senior researcher – neuroimaging data sharing
  • Senior researcher – genomic data sharing
  • Clinician – controlled access to sensitive data
  • PhD student – population modelling data sharing

If your plan relates to more than one type of output, please identify the different types it covers.

Your plan should address the following, where relevant:

1. Data and software outputs 

2. Research materials 

3. Resources required 

You should consider what resources you may need to deliver your plan and outline where dedicated resources are required.

Examples of resources you can ask for include:

4. Intellectual property 

More information 

Contact us 

Contact our information officers if you have a question about funding.

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