The UK is a world leader in medical research, with a vibrant research and innovation ecosystem in which public investment leverages significant charity and private investment.
However, we must not take this for granted. The Academy works to ensure sustained investment in research and innovation by demonstrating their societal and economic benefits - including supporting the new Industrial Strategy and ongoing activities around the future of the UK's research relationship with the European Union, which has significant implications for the UK funding landscape.
Medical Research: What's it worth?
The Academy supported a new report examining the return on public and charitable investment in research into musculoskeletal conditions. This work extends a series of evaluations of economic return from medical research, together these reports show that:
"Every £1 invested in medical research delivers a return equivalent to around 25p every year, for ever."
The most recent report was jointly funded by Arthritis Research UK, Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council and Department of Health. An explainer can be downloaded from this page and the full research paper can be found here.
Investing in UK R&D
Read our President's response to the launch of the Industrial Strategy White Paper.
The four national Academies published an infographic on "Investing in UK R&D", outlining current public and private spending on Research and Development.
We responded to the Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into the Science Budget and the Industrial Strategy.
Alongside our sister Academies, we co-hosted events at the 2017 Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat party conferences, discussing the how to deliver growth and prosperity by increasing investment in Research and Development. All three events were Chaired by Professor Graeme Reid, who wrote a blog on his reflections, available on the Royal Society website.
The Academy submitted evidence to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Green Paper on the Industrial Strategy.
The Academy welcomed the additional £2bn per year of public investment in research and innovation, announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in 2016. This represents a step change in funding for the sector, and a strong message that research is at the heart of the UK's future. This news came shortly after the publication of a joint Academies statement - Open for Business - which called for Government to set UK research investment on a trajectory towards 3% of GDP, to keep pace with comparator nations.
Alongside our sister Academies, we co-hosted events at the 2016 Labour, Conservative and SNP party conferences, discussing the importance of maintaining the UK's as the destination of choice for research and innovation.
The Government has committed to increasing research and development (R&D) spending to 2.4% of GDP within the next 10 years, with a long-term goal of 3%. Along with the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), these commitments mean that there is an important opportunity to provide fresh evidence to inform decisions on investment in research and innovation (R&I).
The National Academies have recognised the need to better understand the benefits that R&I bring to the UK, the distribution of those benefits across the country and its population, how those benefits are achieved and how best to measure them. Rather than simply refining the case for more investment, we want to understand the benefits of this investment in order to spend smarter. To that end, the Academies have assembled a Steering Group of experts, chaired by Lord Willetts FMedSci, to oversee research commissions to identify evidence to support future investment.
Two evidence syntheses have been commissioned, one on measuring the benefits of R&I and one on the conditions needed to translate research and drive innovation.