Following the Chancellor's Budget speech, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:
“In the face of the global challenge posed by COVID-19, I’m delighted that today’s Budget shows that this Government recognises the vital role of medical research in protecting and enhancing the health and wealth of our nation.
“The measures set out by the Chancellor to increase R&D investment to £22 billion a year by 2024-25 shows that this Government is serious about its promises to double our investment in research. This increase in funding has the potential to transform our capacity in medical research and our ability to address major health and societal challenges.
“These measures, starting with a 15% increase in investment next year, lay the foundation for the UK to continue to lead the world in science, drive ever-more international collaboration, and ultimately deliver benefits to patients and the public.
“The importance of investing in medical science has never been more apparent than now, with research forming an integral component of the Government’s four stage response to COVID-19. But these announcements recognise that biomedical research is not only important during a global outbreak; it is vital to deliver new treatments and to address current and emerging health challenges, from epidemic preparedness to an ageing society.
“Medical research also has an integral role to play in driving growth across the UK, with excellent research taking place in universities, hospitals and businesses up and down the country. Building on this excellence can deliver economic benefits – investing in research returns 25p for every pound invested every year, forever, and can attract industry, creating highly skilled jobs.
“These benefits have clearly been recognised by the Chancellor and I now look forward to working with him and this Government as he develops detailed plans for this investment as part of this year’s Spending Review. If we get this right, we can ensure that today’s commitments deliver the greatest possible impact to UK medical research and to our public and patients.”
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Recent Academy activities relevant to the topic of COVID-19 include our President's response to the government's action plan, our recent GCRF report on Epidemic Preparedness, our commitment to rapid and open sharing of research findings relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak and a blog from our Vice President International on how prepared we are in the UK and internationally for the outbreak.
For trusted sources of information about COVID-19 in the UK, the UK government recommend visiting: www.nhs.uk/, www.nhsinform.scot, www.publichealth.hscni.net, https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19 and www.gov.uk/.