Analysing the Risks in the UK Pension Scheme: Evaluation of the Impact of the King’s College London Research Program

Date: November 10, 2020
Client: King’s College London

Contributor:
Iain Coleman
Reading time
2 mins
THE CHALLENGE

King’s College London wanted to assess the impact their research on pension funds had on policymaking in the UK

THE SOLUTION

Impact Science conducted desk research and interviews with beneficiaries and collected qualitative and quantitative evidence on the impact of the research by King’s College London

THE IMPACT

Researchers were able to get a clear idea of how their research influenced the workings and policies of charities, finance firms, and the UK government.

BACKGROUND

King’s College London (KCL) is one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities. KCL ranks among the top universities in the world: founded in 1829, it is a leading research-led institution with 7,200 staff and a turnover of more than £680 million.

The Financial Mathematics group at KCL, led by Prof Teemu Pennanen, have developed sophisticated methods for analyzing the risk factors that affect the performance of pension funds. These allow for fast computations—a million scenarios can be constructed on a personal computer in just a few minutes—enabling efficient numerical analysis of financial risks. This has allowed them to model the future performance of pension funds under a range of economic scenarios and risk factors.

The researchers at KCL had a well-established relationship with the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), an independent research charity which informs policy by providing evidence-based research about the pensions landscape. This involved carrying out collaborative research to analyze the risks in UK pension schemes. The researchers were aware that PPI had drawn on this research in their publications as well as in their lobbying and advice to policymakers. However, they had limited details of how this had an impact on other organizations such as charities and government departments. They needed clear evidence of how their research had been used by PPI, how that had then gone on to benefit other organizations, and how wide-reaching and significant these benefits had been.

STRATEGY & APPROACH

The team at Impact Science evaluated the impact of the KCL research in pensions modeling, starting with PPI and then moving out to other organizations further down the impact pathway.

Through a combination of desk research and structured interviews with key beneficiaries, Impact Science gathered qualitative and quantitative evidence of the uses and benefits of the KCL research. These were then analyzed, and the results were compiled into a report which set out the evidence, established the reach and significance of the impact, and incorporated key quotes from interviewees.

CONCLUSION

The evaluation by Impact Science showed how PPI have used the KCL research and how this has had an impact on charities, finance firms, and the UK government.

As a result, the researchers at KCL have the information they need to understand the details of how organizations have benefited from their research, and an objective, third-party evaluation report to corroborate the wide-ranging impact of their work.

Read the complete evaluation report of pension research

"Impact Science conducted an impact and reach research for our research program. The results of their research exceeded our expectations as they were able to track down beneficiaries that we had not been aware of initially. Our discussions with Impact Science were very fruitful and resulted in significant improvements in our knowledge of the impact of our research."

Prof. Teemu Pennanen,
The lead academic for this research

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