Cochrane-REWARD Prize

The 2009 Lancet paper on adding value and reducing waste in research has documented that much research is wasted because its outcomes cannot be used [1]. The waste occurs during 5 stages of research production: question selection, study design, research conduct, publication, and reporting [2,3]. For each of design, publication, and reporting there is a "loss" of around 50%, which implies a total waste of at least 85%. This translates into an estimated global loss of around $170 billion per year. Much of this waste appears to be avoidable or remediable, but there is little recognition of the need to develop and implement the needed remedies. 

The Cochrane-REWARD prize will highlight both underused "remedies" and the need to invest in research to identify problems and solutions to them.

Cochrane is now calling for nominations for the 2021 prize.

This year, the prize committee especially encourages submissions related to tackling COVID-19 research waste. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen research published at an unprecedented scale, and it is likely that many of the existing research waste issues have been amplified [4]. However, there are also notable examples of efforts to reduce waste and we are keen to highlight some of these. 

All nominations will be assessed using the following criteria:

  1. The nominee has addressed at least one of the 5 stages of waste (questions, design, conduct, publication, reporting) in health research;
  2. The nominee has pilot or more definitive data showing the initiative can lower waste;
  3. The initiative can be scaled up;
  4. The estimated potential reduction in research waste that the initiative might achieve.

Nominations for the 2021 prize should be submitted by 11 October 2021. Two prizes will be awarded (a 1st prize of £1500 and a 2nd prize of £1000), but other shortlisted candidates will also be highlighted to help disseminate good ideas.

The winners of the 2021 prize will be announced in a virtual ceremony later in the year, where they will also be given the opportunity to present about their work.

  1. Chalmers I, Glasziou P. Avoidable waste in the production and reporting of research evidence. Lancet. 2009 Jul 4;374(9683):86-9.
  2. Macleod MR, Michie S, Roberts I, et al. Biomedical research: increasing value, reducing waste. Lancet. 2014 Jan 11;383(9912):101-4.
  3. Glasziou P, Altman DG, Bossuyt P, et al. Reducing waste from incomplete or unusable reports of biomedical research. Lancet. 2014 Jan 18;383(9913):267-76.
  4. Glasziou P, Sanders S and Hoffmann T. Waste in covid-19 research BMJ. 2020 May 12;369:m1847.