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

The Client

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 Research

The Financial Mathematics group at KCL, led by Prof Teemu Pennanen, have developed sophisticated methods for analysing 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 enabled them to model the future performance of pension funds under a range of economic scenarios and risk factors.

The Challenge

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 analyse 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 fed through to impact on other organisations 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 organisations, and how wide-reaching and significant these benefits had been.

The Approach

Impact Science carried out an evaluation of the impact of the KCL research in pensions modelling, starting with PPI and then moving out to other organisations 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 analysed, and the results compiled into a report which set out the evidence, established the reach and significance of the impact, and incorporated key quotes from interviewees.

Key Outcomes

The evaluation by Impact Science clearly showed how PPI have used the KCL research, and how this has fed through into 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 organisations have benefited from their research, and an objective, third-party evaluation report to corroborate the wide-ranging impact of their work.

Professor Teemu Pennanen
Professor Teemu Pennanen

The lead academic for this research, Prof Teemu Pennanen, said “Impact Science conducted an impact and reach research for our research programme. 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.”

Read the complete evaluation report of pension research here: Access Full Report

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