22nd November 2016

We urge Government to recognise the vital role of charities in research and innovation

The Prime Minister has announced that Britain will become the go-to place for innovators and investors

Research test tubesAhead of the Autumn statement that comes tomorrow, Theresa May has announced that spending on research and innovation will be increased in real terms by £2 billion per year until 2020. She made this announcement during her speech at the CBI conference yesterday. Although it is expected that this increase will come from “new money” it is not yet clear how the extra funding will be delivered.

Part of that investment will be allocated through a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to back priority technologies, such as robotics and biotechnology. Its main aim will be to support technology commercialisation in a range of fields, and its primary target will be businesses, although it is expected to also benefit universities. There was no mention of research charities.

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) which represents medical research charities in the UK has welcomed the announcement, but called  on Government to ensure that charities are included in initiatives to boost investment in research and development.

“The Prime Minister’s commitment to increasing spending on research and innovation in real terms offers a potentially promising step forward for research and development in the UK. We await clarity from Government on exactly how medical research charities will benefit from the strategy following the Autumn statement. Research into the cause of migraine, and treatments that could improve the quality of lives of the millions of people with migraine, is vastly under-prioritised and under-resourced. A significant increase in allocated, stable, funding is required before the burden of migraine can be addressed. Migraine is the least publicly funded of all neurological illnesses relative to its economic impact." Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive ofThe Migraine Trust
“AMRC welcomes the Prime Minister’s ambition to make the UK the “global go-to place” for scientists and innovators, including the review of current R&D tax incentives and announcement of a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Investment in R&D is not only crucial for the UK economy, but for the NHS, patients and their families. By investing in research we are unlocking our understanding of health and furthering the discovering of new medical treatments and breakthroughs. Medical research charities play a significant role in UK R&D. We are calling on Government to ensure that charities are included in initiatives to boost investment in R&D. Last year, medical research charities invested £1.4bn in medical research and funded the salaries of 15,000 researchers. Over the last 8 years, charities have invested nearly £10bn in research in the UK. We urge Government to unleash the full potential of medical research charity investment as part of new Industrial Strategy. Ensuring that medical research charities, like businesses, are able to amplify their R&D spending.” Aisling Burnand, Chief Executive of AMRC

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