Long-term sustainability of health research in the UK

The Academy of Medical Sciences has convened a Working Group of experts from academia, industry, charities and the NHS to explore the sustainability of health research in the UK.

The Academy of Medical Sciences has convened a Working Group of experts from academia, industry, charities and the NHS to explore the sustainability* of health research in the UK.

For decades, the health research ecosystem in the UK has generated sustained health, social and economic benefits for the people of the UK and the wider world. The COVID-19 pandemic has again given us cause to celebrate the success of the UK’s scientific research and its linkages to industry. However, it has also shone a light on some of the inherent fragilities in the current system.

A thriving health research sector covering the fundamental understanding of biological processes as well as the ability to translate these into clinical benefits is vital to the health, prosperity and security of the UK. An evidence-based review of the long-term sustainability of the UK’s health research ecosystem is therefore timely.

The project will run through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. We will gather evidence from a range of sources - which may include a call for written evidence, oral evidence sessions, evidence gathering workshops, commissioned research and previous Academy activities and recommendations - to develop a vision for what sustainable health research in the UK would look like, alongside specific recommendations for how to address the barriers to long-term sustainability.

*For the purposes of this project, we consider a feature of UK health research is ‘sustainable’ if it can continue to function as it does today, without resulting in a significant loss of quality, delay in outcome and/or increase in cost (where cost does not have to mean financial). 

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