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Research to Results is an opportunity for the State of Utah to demonstrate our ability to develop and implement innovative solutions to problems with cost-effective approaches that improve lives and save tax-payer dollars.


Imagine improving lives, increasing economic output and productivity, and achieving cost savings for tax payers. The University of Utah’s Office of the Vice President for Research has developed an innovative program designed to do just that.

Research to Results is a public-private partnership that brings proven research, program managers, service providers, and evaluators together to implement outcome-based approaches to address these issues.



How It Works

Achieving results while transferring financial risk to investors instead of taxpayers

Research to Results changes the way government and other funders pay for proven social interventions. The initiative employs a funding strategy similar to other lauded Utah “pay-for-success” models that transfer risk away from government, demand outcomes, improve lives, and provide measurable ROI.

*Outcome payors are typically state or local government agencies.


Contracts to pay for predetermined outcomes

Provide working capital to fund program

Implement programs

Repays investors only if independent evaluation shows outcomes achieved



The University of Utah is uniquely posed to leverage home-grown, proven research to address some of our most pressing societal problems:
addiction, chronic homelessness, criminal justice, and public health.

Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement

Mindfulness-based psychotherapy for individuals with opioid use disorder and chronic pain. Over the last 10 years of trials, it has been proven to reduce opioid use by 45%.

Implementation partners:

  • University of Utah College of Social Work
  • Primary Care Clinics

Status: 17 randomized, controlled trials with positive results

Integrated Home for Chronically Homeless

Integrated medical and behavioral health clinic for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and mental illness. This supportive housing strategy has resulted in 50% less drug use, 60% less jail time, and a tenfold reduction in shelter utilization.

Implementation Partners:

  • Huntsman Mental Health Institute
  • 4th Street Clinic
  • The Road Home

Status: Currently implementing pilot


Intensive Outpatient Clinic

Integrated medical and behavioral health clinic providing care for high-cost, medically complex patients. This clinical approach reduces healthcare costs and utilization, criminal justice interactions, and substance abuse.

Implementation Partners:

  • Intensive Outpatient Clinic team
  • University of Utah Health Plans

Status: Implemented in SLC clinic for 8 years with direct evidence of healthcare cost savings

# of people served
Time Period
Total Cost
Potential State Savings
Benefit-cost ratio (state as the payor)+
Mindful Oriented Recovery Enhancement
5 years
$5 Million
$52 Million
Integrated Home for the Chronically Homeless
3 years
$9 Million
$22.9 million
Intensive Outpatient Clinic
3 years

$3 Million

$2.6 Million

Total Impact


3-5 years

$17 million

$77.5 million

Cost-Savings Estimates

*Total people served over 5 years across all intervention periods, with each intervention period lasting 8 weeks **Number of patients served each year, with many patients receiving multiple years of treatment through the intervention ✢Preliminary numbers based off of currently available information and are subject to change

Source: Sorenson Impact Institute and Dr. Fernando Wilson, Chair of the Health Economics Core at the University of Utah.
Benefit-Cost Ratios (BCRs) are calculated from the perspective of each entity as a potential payor for outcomes generated during project intervention. BCRs are estimates and should not be viewed as guaranteed returns-on investments.

U Research to Results FAQ

  • Previous outcomes-based financing projects have targeted issues related to child welfare, the environment, homelessness, workforce development, criminal justice/recidivism, early childhood health and education, maternal health, and health/mental health.

     Other potential focus areas include: secondary and higher education, youth or teen services, civil justice, nature conservation, clean energy, and projects related to the social determinants of health.

  • To be feasible for an outcomes-based financing model, an intervention should have:

    • A defined target population
    • Measurable outcomes within the project period
    • Access to administrative, demographic, financial, and implementation data
    • An evidence-based intervention or promising emerging practice
    • A service provider capable of implementing or scaling the intervention
    • Monetary fiscal savings and/or societal benefit
  • This project will have several sequential phases:

    1. Pre-Feasibility Scans

    • January 9th, 2023: Open the request for faculty proposals and begin the Pre-Feasibility Scan phase
    • Pre-Feasibility Scan: February 2023 - August-September 2023

    2. Full Feasibility Assessment

    • Candidates chosen: September - October 2023
    • Full Feasibility Assessment: October 2023-June 2024

    3. Transaction Structuring and Implementation

    • Projects chosen: June - July 2024
    • Approximate time to implementation: up 9 months
  • The funding availability for each project will depend on the cost of implementation, the size of the need and target population, and the preferences of funders interested in the intervention or project. While funding is not guaranteed, most outcomes-based financing projects receive between $5-$30 million in funding.

    Note: If your project advances through the pre-feasibility and feasibility phases, the Sorenson Impact Center (SIC) will begin outreach to potential investors and payors. No project will receive direct funding from either the Sorenson Impact Center, the University of Utah, or any of its affiliates. The center is not an investment organization and does not hold any capital. Advancing to the structuring phase is not a guarantee of funding

  • The Sorenson Impact Center mission includes offering a world-class student program to train the impact leaders of tomorrow. This project will integrate a student cohort into all aspects of the project. The cohort will be trained to perform background research, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, assess the needs of target populations, evaluate the rigor of the evidence for the interventions, build financial models and contribute to the assessment of feasibility. Students will work with, and be supervised by, full-time SIC professional staff. The Center is interested in student applicants from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds to bring a unique perspective to the background research process.


This program will be led by Janis Dubno, Managing Director of Impact Finance at the Sorenson Impact Center.
Janis' Bio and Gabe's Bio

Please direct all questions to:

Gabe Freeman

Who is heading up this program at the University of Utah?

This program is jointly run by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Sorenson Impact Center
housed at the David S. Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

  • The U Research to Results program is a collaboration between the University of Utah’s Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the Sorenson Impact Center (SIC) housed at the David S. Eccles School of Business. This program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a research university and an impact finance center. Utilizing innovative finance and outcomes-based financial models, this program seeks to connect evidence-based, social and environmental interventions with public and private funding to implement and scale those interventions within the community.

     An independent evaluator determines if the outcome metrics have been achieved during implementation, and if so, the government will pay back the private funders with a modest return on investment. Payments are only made if outcomes are achieved. In this way, the risk of performance or success is transferred from government to the private funders. Programs and interventions that are evidence-based or promising and emerging interventions are potential candidates for community translation through this innovative financing approach.

    Previous outcomes-based financing projects have focused on a variety of sectors such as homelessness, workforce development, early childhood, health, maternal and child health, wildfire prevention and water conservation. Other fields might also be promising candidates for an outcomes-based financing project.

    The VPR and SIC will issue a Request for Ideas (RFI) soliciting candidates for a Pre-Feasibility Scan in early January. Projects selected for a Pre-Feasibility Scan will be evaluated according to a set of criteria to determine whether they are a good candidate for a full Feasibility Assessment. Projects chosen for a full Feasibility Assessment will undergo an in-depth process to determine if the project is feasible for implementation into a community setting utilizing outcomes-based financing, or if appropriate, an alternative innovative financing structure. Projects deemed feasible will move towards implementation.

    Please see the FAQ for a list of criteria that we are looking for in potential candidates. Interventions typically exhibit evidence of improving outcomes for the treatment groups (if a social or health intervention), resulting in monetary fiscal savings and/or a societal benefit.

    Note: The Sorenson Impact Center, any of its affiliates, and the University of Utah are not investors or capital holders and will not be directly contributing funds to any intervention.

Office of the Vice President for Research

The VPR Office provides resources and support to foster an environment of creativity, discovery, and advanced knowledge.

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The Sorenson Impact Center

The Sorenson Impact Center (SIC or “the Center”) helps organizations achieve their impact vision.

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