Our policy on protecting the UK's research base
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to cancer research and the largest independent funder of cancer research in Europe.
In 2009/10, we spent £334 million on research supporting the work of more than 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
We fund research into all aspects of cancer from exploratory biology to clinical trials of novel and existing drugs as well as population-based studies and prevention research. Our research provides a vital contribution to the UK’s enviable global reputation for scientific research.
The Government has an important role to play in maintaining and promoting the UK’s position at the forefront of science
Building the Ideal Environment for Medical Research
Following the Spending Review science budget commitment and the emphasis in the Plan for Growth for the life sciences to be a driver of growth, Cancer Research UK wanted to consider the different elements that should be brought together in an ideal medical research environment. We wanted to add to the existing evidence base that has outlined the value of medical research and the interdependencies between research funders, by considering the current UK medical research environment, and identifying the different mechanisms that are required to support researchers and the wider UK science base.
The external policy environment has significant influence on the strength of research. This is particularly relevant in an extremely challenging public funding climate. This report outlines mechanisms for UK governments to demonstrate clear commitments to medical research, and enhance the environment in which it is conducted, enabling us to maximise our potential to deliver economic growth as well as ultimately leading to improvements in the health of the nation.
The report draws upon the experience of thirty Cancer Research UK experts, including our researchers and in-house professionals with expertise in research funding and strategy, with whom we conducted in-depth interviews. We considered how the following elements are needed to build a thriving medical research environment: funding; infrastructure; collaboration; investing in people; regulation and governance.
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The Spending Review and Budget 2011
On 20 October, as part of the Spending Review, the Coalition Government announced that they would freeze the science budget at £4.6bn and maintain the ring fence. This will lead to a real-term decrease in funding, because of a rise in inflation, but the science community largely agrees that the announcement could have been much worse.
In the Budget 2011, and the accompanying Plan for Growth, the Government further demonstrated their commitment to science. They announced their plans for improving the system for research and governance to speed up the time it takes to get clinical trials up and running. This was in response to a review by the Academy of Medical Sciences on regulation and governance for research, and we are pleased that the Government is taking the review’s recommendations into consideration. They also announced an extra £100m of funding for several different research laboratories, and identified tax incentives for companies involved in Research and Development (R&D).
Exploring the Interdependency between Public and Charitable Medical Research
Funding for medical research is essential for a healthy nation and a healthy economy: medical research in the UK not only leads to improvements in health benefiting millions, but also generates significant wealth and investment.
In the UK medical research greatly benefits from funding from the public, private and charity sectors. To investigate this further, Cancer Research UK asked the Office of Health Economics (OHE) to look at the interdependency of public and charitable research, and the contribution that these partners make to the sector.
The OHE published their report on this in April 2011, which concludes that there are significant benefits, both financial and qualitative, in having different partners supporting research.
- That when charities and the Government both support science, this helps the economy.
- That public funding helps charities to raise money by showing that the Government has faith in research these funds are supporting.
- That UK healthcare would suffer if one of these partners was to cut their contribution.
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All of the research that we fund is governed by the UK research policy environment. The different types of research we fund are affected by different policies and regulations. We need the Government to provide adequate funding and a supportive legislative environment to enable our researchers to conduct their research and promote its translation into public benefit.
Find out how we want the Government to improve their support for:
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