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Top UK scientists urge Prime Minister to prevent catastrophic fall in charity research funding

last modified Jul 07, 2020 09:09 AM
More than 60 of the UK’s top cardiovascular disease and cancer research scientists have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister pressing for urgent financial support for UK medical research charities.

The letter urges the Government to “take swift action to invest in a Life Sciences-Charity Partnership Fund to protect the vital and unique contribution charity-funded biomedical research makes to the UK’s R&D ecosystem and the wider economy.”

 

The scientists - many of whom have risen to become international leaders in their fields thanks to decades of funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Cancer Research UK - are concerned that recent funding announcements from Government for universities and charities will not address the significant shortfall in medical research charity investment in the UK science base.

 

Last year medical research charities invested £1.9 billion into UK research. Cancer Research UK and the BHF alone funded more than half of all non-commercial UK research into cancer and heart and circulatory diseases.

Unprecedented funding crisis

 But cancelled fundraising events and shop closures due to coronavirus have sparked an unprecedented funding crisis for charities. Cancer Research UK could be forced to cut £150 million per year from its research funding, and we anticipate having to cut our research spend by half this year - from £100 million to around £50 million. This impact is not expected to be restricted to the short-term, with some level of reduction in funding tentatively forecast for at least the next 3-5 years.

The leading scientists say such a sharp fall could have a “catastrophic impact” on the UK’s research and R&D base, the research careers of thousands of young scientists, and advances in diagnostics, treatments and cures for people with the UK’s deadliest diseases.

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