FAQs

I. About the survey

II. Who is involved

III. Completing the survey

IV. Making changes

V. Finding and adding organisations

VI. Inclusions and exclusions

VII. Resources

I. About the survey



Q1. Why do we need a survey of global health R&D investment?

The G-FINDER project aims to help improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries by providing comprehensive and accurate information on the research and development (R&D) funding landscape for neglected diseases (NDs), emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues. This information allows policy-makers, funders and researchers to identify gaps, areas of underfunding and their own contributions to these global public goods; and allows advocates to use this information to press for greater R&D funding for global health goals. The data comes from the G-FINDER survey, which is the only survey to collate and analyse primary data on actual investment in ND, EID and SRH R&D at a global level.


Q2. How is the survey data used?

The survey data is used by Policy Cures Research to create freely available reports that analyse global health R&D investment. This includes the annual G-FINDER report, which provides analysis of how R&D investment for neglected diseases is being allocated across diseases and product types, funding trends over time, and where the potential gaps lie. All data collected in the G-FINDER survey is also freely available in the G-FINDER data portal.

Multilateral agencies, governments, consultants and advocacy organisations are increasingly using the neglected disease R&D investment data to create indicators to monitor funding from public institutions, coordinate research activities and inform policy:

  • The Executive Board of WHO, in its revised “Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property”, recommend that Member States should commit to providing information to G-FINDER, and include G-FINDER as the sole reference for its indicator of PDP funding levels and diversity
  • The Science and Technology Ministers of the G7 state, in the Tsukuba communique, that G7 members should “develop and improve their national information systems in terms of coverage, completeness, consistency, and ease of use, with the goal to report the significant majority of their national, publicly funded R&D activities on PRDs/NTDs to G-FINDER and the World RePORT by 2018” to improve global health R&D mapping
  • The WHO Global Observatory on Health R&D uses G-FINDER as its sole source of granular data on R&D funding for neglected diseases
  • SEEK Development’s Donor Tracker uses G-FINDER data to provide in depth analysis of OECD donor country support for neglected disease R&D

In 2020, Policy Cures Research published a comprehensive report on R&D investment for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), covering global funding for WHO priority EIDs between 2014 and 2018. The survey will continue to collect EID R&D investment but data will be analysed and reported separately to investment in R&D for NDs and SRH.

In 2014, the survey collected data on global investment in R&D for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) technologies, with the findings published in a report titled Reproductive health: R&D for the developing world. Ongoing gaps in R&D for SRH technologies persist, particularly for technologies that meet the needs of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Collection of SRH investment data began again in the 2019 survey, albeit with a different scope to the 2014 survey. In 2020, Policy Cures Research published a report on the diverse SRH R&D funding landscape highlighting a broad spectrum of investment in 2018. The survey will continue to collect SRH R&D investment but data will be analysed and reported separately to investment in R&D for NDs and EIDs.


Q3. What data has been collected since the start of the survey?

Investment data for R&D for neglected diseases and emerging infectious diseases has been collected annually since 2008 and 2015, respectively. The first sexual and reproductive health survey was conducted in 2014. From 2019 onward, the survey once again collects data on SRH investment, albeit with a different scope to the 2014 survey.


Q4. How does this survey fit in with other R&D funding surveys?

While this survey is unprecedented in its coverage of neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases and sexual and reproductive health issues, several other groups are working to analyse R&D funding for selected global health issues. Wherever possible, Policy Cures Research works closely with these groups to align survey design, share data and avoid duplicating requests to funders. Policy Cures Research is also heavily involved in global efforts to coordinate and harmonise the collection and reporting of data for neglected disease R&D in particular.


Q5. What information are you collecting? What is the scope of the survey?

The purpose of G-FINDER is to track and analyse global investment in the research and development of new health technologies. The survey collects information about the amount of money that is spent on R&D for particular global health areas (see below), including who provided the funds, who the funds were given to, and what the funds were used to research.

G-FINDER quantifies R&D investments into two overarching categories: basic and early stage research; and clinical and field development and post registration studies. A detailed explanation of what types of R&D activities are included in each of these categories is provided in the scope documents.


Q6. How were the diseases, health issues, products and R&D areas chosen?

Neglected diseases

Prior to the commencement of the G-FINDER project, there was no generally accepted definition of ‘neglected diseases’ and, for many diseases, no agreement on which new products were needed. Before the start of the survey in 2008, in order to reach a consensus position on these questions, a list was created of all diseases classified by major health bodies or publications as a ‘neglected disease’. This list was then assessed by an international Advisory Committee of 17 experts in neglected disease and R&D, who filtered candidates against

1. The burden of the disease or condition disproportionately affects people in low- and middle-income countries;
2. There is no existing product to treat / prevent the disease or condition, OR a product exists but is poorly suited for use in low- and middle-income countries; AND
3. There is no commercial market to stimulate R&D by industry.

We maintain ongoing consultation with the Advisory Committee for advice on applying this definition in response to changes in the R&D or pathogenic landscape. Where the Advisory Committee does not reach a consensus, their views are supplemented by advice from further technical and R&D experts. The result of this consultation is that not all areas of research are judged as meeting our definition of ‘neglected’ in relation to every disease, and some are included only with restrictions. For example, investments in pneumonia drug R&D are excluded because a sufficient commercial market exists; while pneumonia vaccine R&D investments are only included if they meet specific requirements for strain, vaccine type and target age group. A comprehensive explanation of all current inclusions, exclusions and restrictions, as well as changes to the scope over time, is provided by the neglected disease scope document.

Emerging infectious diseases

Policy Cures Research began gathering data on R&D targeting emerging infectious diseases in response to the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic. In our 2015 G-FINDER survey and report (looking at investments made in 2014), this focused exclusively on Ebola R&D. Since then, we have adopted a progressively broader scope in each subsequent year, determined in consultation with the G-FINDER Advisory Committee and a separate emerging infectious diseases Expert Advisory Group.

Our current definition of emerging infectious diseases closely follows the list of priority diseases endorsed by the World Health Organization research and development Blueprint for action to prevent epidemics (the Blueprint). The survey also gathers data on emerging infectious diseases and disease groups not included in the Blueprint priority list, including several pathogens which have been considered for inclusion.

Compared to our neglected disease definition, our definition of emerging infectious diseases has very few restrictions. R&D for almost all product development categories (drugs, vaccines, biologics, and diagnostics) is included without further restrictions for all priority emerging infectious diseases pathogens, as is basic research. R&D for vector control products is included where relevant. A comprehensive explanation of all current inclusions, exclusions and restrictions, as well as changes to the scope over time, is provided by the emerging infectious disease scope document.

Sexual and reproductive health issues

Building on a previous one-off report on global funding for reproductive health published by Policy Cures in 2014, Policy Cures Research began tracking funding for R&D for sexual and reproductive health issues in 2019 (when we collected 2018 data), this time with a slightly broader scope. Our updated definition of sexual and reproductive health issues was determined through a multi-stage process, starting with an initial, broad stakeholder consultation with 46 of the world’s leading stakeholder organisations. Participants included major donors, NGOs, peak bodies and coalitions, and research and innovation organisations. An Expert Advisory Group comprising 23 global experts in sexual and reproductive health was then convened to refine our definition through several rounds of consultation.

As with neglected diseases, our definition of sexual and reproductive health aims to capture R&D that is relevant to the sexual and reproductive health needs of people in low- and middle-income countries according to the following overarching criteria:

1. The area is a significant health issue affecting people in low- and middle-income countries;
2. There is a need for new products (i.e. there is no existing product, or improved or additional products are needed to meet the needs of people in low- and middle-income countries).

We maintain an ongoing consultation with the Expert Advisory Group for advice on how to apply our definition of sexual and reproductive health issues in particular contexts. Where there is disagreement between experts, their decisions are supplemented by advice from further technical and R&D experts.

Not all basic research and product types are included in our definition of sexual and reproductive health issues, and some are included only with restrictions. For example, chlamydia drugs are excluded because cheap and efficacious treatment with oral azithromycin already exists and is appropriate for use in low- and middle-income settings; while syphilis drugs are included but restricted only to those that target latent, tertiary, maternal or congenital syphilis, since drugs to treat early stage syphilis are effective and readily available. HIV and hepatitis B are part of both our neglected disease and our sexual and reproductive health definitions, and may therefore appear in our analysis covering either of these disease areas. A comprehensive explanation of all current inclusions, exclusions and restrictions, as well as changes to the scope over time, is provided by the sexual and reproductive health scope document.


Q7. What is the difference between the World Health Organization's list of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and the G-FINDER neglected diseases?

G-FINDER and the World Health Organization (WHO) use different criteria for the inclusion and exclusion of diseases. Notably, the WHO focuses on morbidity and mortality as well as the geographical distribution of a disease (tropical and subtropical conditions). The criteria for G-FINDER diseases, outlined in Q6 above, takes into account product gaps and needs as well as market failure. The WHO NTDs list includes 20 diseases, some of which align with the scope of G-FINDER. For a comparison WHO and G-FINDER diseases please see here.


Q8. How was the survey tool designed?

The survey tool was originally designed with the guidance of an international Stakeholder Network of key investors in neglected disease R&D, who would also complete the survey. The Stakeholder Network includes more than 20 public, philanthropic and private representatives, whose organisations stand out as the largest funders of product R&D for priority global health issues, or who have key significance in the field. Their input has helped ensure that the information collected in the G-FINDER survey is the most feasible, reliable and useful it can be in terms of capturing global expenditure on global health product R&D.

We continue to improve the usability of the online survey tool, with the aim to make it as user-friendly as possible.


Q9. Financial reporting systems differ between many organisations - how does Policy Cures Research account for these differences?

We recognise that there are differences in both financial year periods and accounting systems between organisations. Financial year periods often do not match the calendar year and vary between organisations. For the purposes of the G-FINDER survey, 'financial year 2020' refers to the financial year occurring predominantly in the year 2020 (e.g. a financial year of April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021 is considered as financial year 2020 for this survey).

Note: When completing the survey, please enter your organisation’s actual financial year dates, and Policy Cures Research will undertake the necessary conversions.


Q10. How does the survey handle data reported in different currencies?

Figures in our reports are converted to US dollars (US$) using exchange rate data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and adjusted for inflation using country-specific Consumer Price Index (CPI) data from the IMF and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in order to allow meaningful analysis across multiple funding years.


Q11. The flow of funds is very complex in this field. How is double-counting avoided?

Policy Cures Research understands the complex nature of funding in this field, and recognises the importance of avoiding double-counting. The survey was therefore designed with these issues in mind. The level of detail provided by the survey allows Policy Cures Research to trace the flow of funds through organisations with a high level of accuracy. Your organisation may play one or more different roles in product R&D. Therefore, before starting the survey, you will be asked about the roles your organisation carries out. Your answers will determine what data is subsequently requested.


Q12. Can I get the survey results? When?

Reports that analyse the data collected in this survey are available on the Policy Cures Research website. All data from the survey is freely available through the G-FINDER data portal


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II. Who is involved?

 

Q13. Who is conducting the survey?

The survey is conducted by Policy Cures Research. Policy Cures Research is a not-for-profit global health think-tank based in Sydney, Australia and headed by Dr Nick Chapman. The Policy Cures Research team previously conducted the survey as part of Policy Cures, before becoming a separate organisation in September 2016.

 

Q14. Who is funding the survey?

The survey is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Q15. Who has been asked to complete the survey and how were they identified?

Policy Cures Research aims to survey all key public, private and philanthropic organisations involved in neglected disease, emerging infectious disease and/or sexual and reproductive health R&D. New invitees are continually identified through research conducted by Policy Cures Research, and validated by relevant sector experts. Although the primary focus is on funders, we also survey key research, intermediary and industry groups to allow us to better track funding flows. In its first year, the survey was sent to 551 funders, research intermediaries, product development partnerships (PDPs) and industry entities in 43 countries. Today, the G-FINDER survey is sent more than 900 organisations in approximately 60 countries. If you would like to participate in the survey, please email us at g-finder@policycuresresearch.org.


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III. Completing the survey

 

Q16. Do I have to do the survey online? Can I do it on paper or over the phone?

The survey has been designed to be completed online, and is compatible with Internet Explorer 9, 10 and 11, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. However, if it is not possible for you to complete the survey online, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk.

 

Q17. How long will it take me to complete the survey?

This depends on the availability of data in your organisation, and your organisation's level of involvement in neglected disease, emerging infectious disease and/or sexual and reproductive health R&D. For some, this data may be readily available, while others may require a bit of groundwork to collect the necessary data. To make it easier to input your data, before you start:

  • identify repeating / continuing grants from last year’s submission,
  • collate ‘funds disbursed’,
  • collate ‘funds received’, and
  • sort data by disease / issue and product.

If you have repeating grants from the immediate past financial year, you have an option to upload and update previous grant amounts, which saves time. If you have many grants and are concerned about the size of the task, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk to see how we can help.

Note: Multiple people within an organisation can simultaneously enter data into the survey using their organisation-specific logins and passwords.

 

Q18. What if I have continuing (repeating) grants?

If you have continuing / ongoing funding of grants you submitted to last year’s survey, you can quickly enter your funding for the current survey year without having to re-enter any of the other grant information. Where applicable, the option to include these continuing grants will appear at the top of your organisation’s data-entry page after logging in to your homepage and selecting ‘Start survey’ or ‘Continue survey’.

 

Q19. I am not able to complete the survey in one sitting. Can I save my data and come back to it later?

Yes. Once you have completed a data entry session you can Save and Exit by selecting the "Exit and return to survey later" button. You will be returned to the same point when you next open the survey.

 

Q20. Is the online survey process secure?

Yes, the online survey process is very secure. We use a secure, SSL encryption and multi-level username and password access to determine the level of access and functionality. If you have concerns related to confidentiality, please see our Privacy Policy and Security Policy or contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk.

 

Q21. What if my organisation has additional concerns related to confidentiality?

Concerns related to confidentiality are important to us. Please refer to our our Privacy Policy and Security Policy. If you have additional concerns, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk.

 

Q22. What if I don't know what something means?

A glossary of key terms is available at the Glossary tab at the top of the page (under Survey materials). For a list of all R&D terms and what they mean for neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases or sexual and reproductive health issues, please refer to the relevant scope documents (also under Survey Materials).

Note: For an explanation of a specific category within the online survey, select the "?" help button to the right of that term. This will take you to the relevant section of the R&D scope document. If you still have questions, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk.

 

Q23. What if I can't allocate my funding to a specific area?

If you do not know which diseases or issues you are funding or what the research is for, OR are unable to allocate funding to a single disease or issue, please refer to the relevant section of the scope documents. Examples include: core funding; funding for cross-disease / cross-issue technologies such as adjuvants and platform technologies; or joint funding for more than one disease or issue (e.g. TB / HIV co-infection).

If your funding is applicable to more than one global health area, please select the relevant option under ‘Funding of R&D applicable to more than one disease or global health area’ at the bottom of the frame in Step 1. You can then tick whether the most relevant global health area included neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases or sexual & reproductive health areas, or a combination of these.

Note: If, after Step 1 in the survey, you are unsure of the correct product or R&D area to allocate funds to, select the unspecified option in Step 2 (you do not know the product) or the unspecified option in Step 3 (you do not know the R&D area) and continue entering funding or research data (for example, if you gave funds to an organisation for a specific disease, but do not know how they plan to use it) If you still have difficulties or questions, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk.

 

Q24. My organisation funds its own research. How do I include this funding?

Your organisation may play one or more different roles in product R&D, including funding its own research. Therefore, before starting the survey, you will be asked about the roles your organisation carries out. Your answers will determine what data is subsequently requested. If you are having any difficulties entering your data, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk.

 

Q25. My organisation receives funding from other organisations and then distributes it to researchers. How should I report this?

The first financial table you see will be a table to record the funding you received from others. You will now need to go through the 3-step process to enter grants you received. If your organisation also gives funding to other organisations and/or incurs internal R&D expenses (e.g. staff directly involved in R&D projects, or internal product development facilities), you will also need to enter data in the relevant tables. If possible, please provide an identifier (either in the grant field, or in notes) that will allow us to link the two financial flows.

 

Q26. Can I check my progress entering data in the survey?

Yes, when you click on the ’Check my data’ tab you can view a report of the data entered so far. You can view a subset of your data by disease / issue and/or product. These reports are also available in PDF and Excel.



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IV. Making changes

 

Q27. I need to edit or delete information that I entered previously. Can I do this?

Yes. If you have not yet submitted your survey, select 'edit' or 'delete' in the grant row you wish to change and then re-save your data by clicking on the 'save' button. You will then be taken back to your current place in the table. If you wish to make changes to the grant allocation, e.g. the disease / issue, product or R&D area, select the 'change allocation' button. This will take you back to re-enter your selection for Steps 1, 2 and 3.

 

Q28. I have submitted the survey. Can I still make changes?

No. If this is the case, please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk for further assistance.

 

Q29. I selected the wrong R&D role for my organisation and the survey instructions tell me I can't modify the selection once it has been confirmed. What can I do to fix this?

Please contact the G-FINDER Helpdesk and we can reset your selection.


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V. Finding and adding organisations

 

Q30. How do I search for the 'name of funding recipient' or the 'name of funding organisation' in the financial tables?

Start typing the name and a list of likely organisations will appear.

Note: The search engine does not recognise non-English characters (e.g. í, ü, é, ç or ã). We recommend searching for organisations by their English name, e.g. Spanish Centers of Biomedical Research instead of Centros de Investigación Biomédica en Red.

 

Q31. An organisation I am funding, or an organisation that funds me, is not recognised in the predictive text when I try to enter their name. How do I add them?

For each grant entry, if the name of the organisation does not appear in the predictive text list, you can type it in the space provided. Once you have saved your entry, similar names of organisations may be presented. If the organisation you are looking for appears on this list, please select it. If not, you can continue creating a new organisation and you will be asked to enter data for this organisation i.e. organisation type, and key contact details. Please remember to SAVE these details.

Note: You will only have to enter the organisation details once - when the data is saved you can continue entering your data and the organisation will appear on the predictive text list in future.


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VI. Inclusions and exclusions

 

Q32. Not all support for R&D is financial. Can I include in-kind contributions?

No, you cannot include in-kind contributions in the financial reporting. These costs are not included in the survey due to the difficulty of accurately quantifying or allocating them to neglected / emerging infectious disease or sexual and reproductive health programmes. However, the published reports include a section highlighting the nature and value of in-kind contributions from pharmaceutical companies such as compound sharing and the provision of expertise.

 

Q33. My organisation has committed future funding for R&D, but has not yet paid it out. Can I include these figures?

No. You can only include funding that has already been disbursed. If you have a continuing grant with no disbursements in the current year, but for which future year commitments exist, the grant should be edited and uploaded in the continuing grants section with a $0 amount. This will retain the grant information in the survey and allow disbursements to be easily entered the following year (once made).

 

Q34. How do I know if my area of research or funding falls within the scope of this survey?

Refer to the relevant scope document (under ‘Survey Materials’ in the top menu) to see which diseases / issues and product areas are included, restricted or excluded.

 

Q35. Why are some types of research excluded from the survey?

The survey is focused on tracking global investment in R&D to develop new health technologies aimed at preventing, diagnosing, treating or curing neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases or sexual and reproductive health issues for people in LMICs, where these tools either do not already exist, or are inappropriate for use in LMIC contexts. For this reason, the survey excludes or has a restricted scope for certain diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS basic research is restricted to only LMIC-specific research).


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VII. Resources

 

The Glossary

The glossary is a list of key terms and definitions used in the survey (e.g. financial year). Refer to the Glossary tab at the top of the G-FINDER page at any time.


The R&D Scope

The Survey Materials dropdown in the top menu hosts the R&D scope documents, which explains how to classify R&D inclusion and exclusion areas.

 

The G-FINDER Helpdesk

Questions can be directed to the G-FINDER Helpdesk at any time.



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