Medical research charities exist to support research that will help us to understand the condition or develop treatments to help people affected.
This support is not insignificant. AMRC member charities fund over a third of publicly funded research in the UK, spending £1.3bn in 2013. This is in large part down to the generosity of the UK public who make medical research their most popular charitable cause.
Public funding from the Government complements the money provided by medical research charities.
The value of this mutually-beneficial relationship has been shown in a report published today by the Office of Health Economics (OHE).
The report, commissioned by Cancer Research UK, demonstrates that the combination of funding by charities and by the Government leads to very specific benefits, including that:
• when charities and the Government both support science, this helps the economy.
• public funding helps charities to raise money by showing that the Government has faith in research these funds are supporting.
• UK healthcare would suffer if one of these partners was to cut their contribution.
With the Scottish Parliament election only 10 weeks away, campaigners are working hard to push their issues up the political agenda, input to party manifestos and shape the debate.
With the focus firmly on the financial situation and the impact that will have on public spending, people are understandably nervous about cuts to the funds that they rely on, and the pressing need to show the importance of continuing to invest in their field.
Dr Harriet Teare is Policy Researcher at Cancer Research UK
The build-up to the Government’s Spending Review on 20 October has generated huge speculation. How will the Government choose to distribute its funds? What will be protected? And who and what will take the biggest hit?
For medical research, much remains to be seen.
NHS budgets will be protected. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – the NHS’s research arm, which provides a vital link between researchers and patients – is included within this and should therefore be relatively safe.
But the science budget in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills still hangs in the balance.