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Research Funders and ORCID: New members, mandates, and platforms

Laure Haak's picture

Researchers rejoice!  Funders have been working to integrate ORCID iDs in grant application and reporting workflows, and you should start to experience benefits in the form of single sign on, streamlined application data entry, and reduced post-award reporting burden.

Input Once, Reuse Often

Funders play a critical role, along with universities and publishers, in building and supporting the infrastructure to support open research.  Major funders, including the European Commission, agree that persistent identifiers for people and works are necessary components of this infrastructure.    

ORCID launched funding functionality in 2014 to help funders streamline reporting processes, both on the front end during grant application, and, after award, to enable outcomes reporting and trainee tracking.

Fourteen research funders in six continents are now ORCID members, with half of these joining in 2015: the Australian Research Council, CONCYTEC (Peru), FWF (Austria), MQ (UK), National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia), National Research Foundation (South Africa), and Research Councils UK.   

Mandates and Enabling Platforms

Funders started to engage with ORCID shortly after our launch in 2012, embracing the "input once, re-use often" principle that allows automatic information exchange between the various systems. Examples of how funders are using ORCID include integration into funding application platforms (Box 1) and mandates (Box 2).


Box 1. Enabling Platforms. A number of funding system platforms have integrated ORCID, enabling the adoption of ORCID by research funders.

UberResearch (2014). Provides ORCID users with an interface to search and connect their iD to funding data from >60 funders around the world.

ResearchFish (2015). Enables researchers managing their outputs portfolio in ResearchFish to pull/push data with ORCID.

SmartSimple (2015). Allows researchers to import data from their ORCID record into SmartSimple.

InfoEd (2015). Includes support for connecting ORCID iDs with their platform.


Box 2. Funder Mandates. These funders are requiring use of ORCID by researchers.

  • Autism Speaks, USA (2014)
  • FCT, Portugal (2014)
  • QNRF, Qatar (2014)
  • SRC, Sweden (2014)
  • Department of Transportation, US (2015)
  • NIHR, UK (2015)
  • Wellcome Trust, UK (2015)
  • FWF, Austria (2016)












Effective Practices

For the research community to derive most benefit, each sector must play its part in collecting and connecting ORCID iDs.  For funders, that means:

  • collecting iDs from principal investigator(s) at time of application using the ORCID API
  • collecting iDs for all researchers supported on the award at time of notice
  • embedding the iDs in the award data
  • including the iDs in the public awards data, and
  • updating the awardee ORCID record with name and ID of funder, name and ID of grant, and assertion by funder

To support quality data and accuracy, ORCID strongly recommends the use of APIs, rather than type-in fields or search tools, to enable a researcher to connect their iD to funding systems.  We also encourage funders to pull data from ORCID to populate some of the application data fields. ORCID has developed a webpage detailing funder implementations steps.  

Year in Review

In 2015, activity by funders really picked up, as you can see from these highlights:

February.  MQ: Transforming Mental Health (UK) became an ORCID member and started collecting ORCID iDs from grant applicants.

April.  The Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council released a Joint Statement on ORCID Adoption, focused on streamlining research administration and reporting for researchers and administering institutions  Both funders will be joining an Australian ORCID membership consortium launching in January 2016.

May. FCT (Portugal) published a presentation and paper describing the design and prototyping of a synchronization framework for PT-CRIS -- the national research information management system -- using ORCID registry data and APIs.

June. RCUK released an ORCID Provocation calling for RCUK membership in ORCID, integration of ORCID into grant application and reporting processes, and eventual mandated use of ORCID by all grant applicants.

July.  CONCYTEC (Peru) became an ORCID member and enabled researchers to connect their iD to the national researcher registry, Directorio Nacional de Investigadores e Innovadores (DINA)

August. Wellcome Trust mandated use of ORCID iDs by researchers in their grant application system, citing this as a first step to improving the quality of information they have on their grant-holders, and reducing the time taken and administrative burden required in applying for a grant.

August. National Research Foundation (South Africa) joined ORCID and indicated plans to use ORCID in its national CV system.

September. NIHR  (UK) mandated ORCID, to distinguish researchers from one another and increase the effectiveness and accuracy of the analysis of outputs.

November. The US NIH released a video of the integration of ORCID into the SciENcv platform, documenting a real life use case for utilizing the ORCiD API to benefit users of a federal researcher profile system.

November.  FWF (Austria) became a member and mandated ORCID in their 2016 call for proposals.  

November. The US Department of Transportation announced that it will be requiring its reseachers to use ORCID when publishing

December.  RCUK announced that it will join the UK ORCID consortium and integrate ORCID into its Je-S grant application system.

The more institutions and funders integrate ORCID into workflows, the more effective it will become in enabling sharing of information across platforms, and speeding up application and reporting processes.  We encourage all funders to become part of the solution. For more information, see this brief, view this recorded webinar, visit our webpage on integrating ORCID into funding systems, or email us