UK government funding of biomedical research
A question in Parliament from Chi Onwurah, the Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 6th July 2021 challenged the Government on its funding commitments for medical research. Ms. Onwurah had recently visited Newcastle University’s dementia research centre where she found that many scientists had lost grants as COVID devastated medical research charities excluded from Government support. Many post-doctoral scientists doing fundamental research into this terrible disease, were working two jobs at once or working for free and were unable to apply for funding in their own name. Additionally, institutes were closing or had closed as the Government’s international development funding was slashed.
Despite promises of £50m funding from BEIS and £5m from DHSC to support early career researchers, this money is clearly not reaching those biomedical scientists and we should question what further research will be impacted by these cuts. Research of this nature cannot be subject to rollercoaster funding when long term projects are just that, for the long term. Removing funding in this way can set a project back months and years and the implications for both those carrying out this vital work and patients desperately needing treatments and therapies to alleviate their suffering, is profound. This is why Safer Medicines Trust, as part of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Relevant Science, is calling for strategic funding of biomedical research to be directed to human based technologies relevant to human disease, such as Alzheimer’s (note – rats and mice don’t get Alzheimer’s!!), in order to find better and safer medicines for these conditions.
Related: Biomedical Research Must Change — But a Shift Toward Human-specific Research Methods Is Only Part of What Is Needed; Accelerating the Growth of Human Relevant Life Sciences in the United Kingdom