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10 Widening and strengthening the research field and improving knowledge exchange

It is important that shortages in the quantity or quality of the resources available for research, analysis or evaluation should not become a brake on the extensive programme of work now envisaged.

It is likely that the limited availability of funding will always be a factor affecting the willingness of researchers to enter the gambling field. But the reliance of the Responsible Gambling Trust on voluntary financial support from the gambling industry also inhibits some potential applicants who might otherwise respond to invitations to tender.

For that reason the Trust and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board are finalising a Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure codifying the process for determining research priorities, the arrangements for commissioning research and areas like intellectual property, peer review and publication. The Research Procedure makes clear that the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, not the Responsible Gambling Trust, is responsible for producing the briefs that set out the questions and context for the research that is then commissioned by the Trust. The objectives of the Procedure are to make the process more transparent and to help counter any perception that the research is less than fully independent. The arrangements will be reviewed periodically to ensure they continue to be fit for purpose. 

The Responsible Gambling InfoHub should be considered in the same context. The InfoHub was established by the Responsible Gambling Trust as an online database of research and is being maintained as a resource available to all. Further consideration is needed of the extent it should be made more accessible to those without a research background. Thought should also be given to whether its scope could be extended to cover the outcome of evaluations or any other new information about successful or unsuccessful harm minimisation or treatment interventions.

Lead responsibility: Responsible Gambling Trust, working with the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board.

Indicative timescale: The Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure will be published shortly.

Indicators of success: A stronger research base would be characterised by the involvement of a wider range of researchers showing a willingness and interest in tendering for gambling–related research, and fewer expressions of unwillingness to do so because of concern about the source of funding. Researchers will also have access to a broader range of funding streams and expertise from other sectors and fields of research. They will be assisted by greater availability and sharing of data and results will be disseminated widely and transparently. We would hope to see a greater degree of public confidence in the quality and independence of gambling-related research, and a reduction in criticism of the way research funds are allocated and research questions set.

Relevant to: Priority objectives I, II, III, IV and V.