A practical application of value of information and prospective payback of research to prioritize evaluative research

Lazaros Andronis, Lucinda Billingham, Stirling Bryan, Nicholas James, Pelham Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Efforts to ensure that funded research represents ‘value for money’ have led to increasing calls for the use of analytic methods in research prioritisation. A number of analytic approaches have been proposed to assist research funding decisions, the most prominent of which are ‘value of information’ (VOI) and ‘prospective payback of research’ (PPoR). Despite the increasing interest in the topic, there is paucity of VOI and PPoR applications on the same case study to contrast their methodologies and compare their outcomes.
Objectives: We undertook VOI and PPoR analyses to determine the value of conducting two proposed research programmes. The application served as a vehicle for identifying differences and similarities between the methodologies, gave an insight into the assumptions and practical requirements of undertaking prospective analyses for research prioritisation, and highlighted areas for future research.
Methods: VOI and PPoR were applied to case studies representing proposals for clinical trials in advanced non-small cell lung cancer and prostate cancer. Decision models were built to synthesise the evidence available prior to the funding decision. VOI (expected value of perfect and sample information) and PPoR (PATHS model) analyses were undertaken using the developed models.
Results and conclusions: VOI and PPoR results agreed in direction, suggesting that the proposed trials would be cost-effective investments. However, results differed in magnitude, largely due to the way each method conceptualises the possible outcomes of further research and the implementation of research results in practice. Compared to VOI, PPoR is less complex but requires more assumptions. Although the approaches are not free from limitations, they can provide useful input for research funding decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-334
Number of pages50
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • value of information
  • decision analysis
  • economic evaluation
  • research prioritisation


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