The UK's status as a world leader in medical research is underpinned by its talented and multidisciplined workforce. We want to see the next generation of medical scientists navigate a clear career path with the right funding opportunities. We monitor the research, healthcare and higher education landscape in order to identify and influence key issues that impact biomedical and health researchers.
Explore the tabs below to find out more about our projects, reports and impact:
The NHS is uniquely placed to be the engine of health research.
The historic research discoveries made in the NHS how how much is at stake for patients. Discoveries from NHS research include the development of penicillin as a drug, the invention of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, the development of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), DNA sequencing and making advances in immunology to allow organ transplantation.
"Protecting and strengthening research is a win-win situation for patients, the NHS, Universities and our economy. There is increasing evidence that shows that patients treated in research active hospitals get better quality of care, even if they are not taking part in a research project." ~ Academy President
Research-active NHS staff are struggling to find time for research. Our report sets out a powerful vision to enhance the NHS-academia interface to make sure scientific discoveries boost the NHS and improve patient care. Read more on our policy pages and news article. Our 2020 report on enhancing the NHS-academia interface, written and published before the COVID-19 pandemic, raised the alarm about NHS staff facing increasing challenges finding time for research. It sets out a powerful vision to make sure scientific discoveries continue to boost the NHS and improve patient care. Despite the known benefits of research, the report highlights that many NHS Trusts see research as ‘nice to have’. The number of medical clinical academics decreased from 7.5% to 4.2% of NHS medical consultants from 2004 to 2017. Only 0.4% of GPs and 0.1% of nursing, midwifery and other health professionals had research as part of their role in 2017.
In 2018, when the NHS turned 70, we looked back to celebrate the impact that NHS research has had on patient care. We also looked forward to consider what we will need to continue to realise the vast potential of the NHS for research in the future and ensure the NHS is receptive to and engaged in a forward thinking research agenda.
Clinical academic careers
We are part of the Clinical Academic Training Forum, which brings together key individuals and organisations from across the clinical academic training landscape to influence and improve training, research and patient care. Membership includes funders, government departments, universities and trainee representatives from across the four nations. The Clinical Academic Training Forum is currently chaired by by Academy Vice-President Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci and has recently launched a new Clinical Academic Training and Careers Hub website to answer many broader questions for people starting their clinical academic journey.
International collaboration and mobility is fundamental for good research and innovation. 82% of British adults feel that the UK should be competing with other major economies to attract scientists, academics and their support staff to the UK.
Yet a skilled worker coming to the UK under the new Global Talent Visa has to pay considerably more than they would in eleven other leading
scientific nations. The total average upfront cost for a Tier 2 skilled worker visa is £8,419, 540% higher than the average cost in other leading scientific nations (£1,316). We are championing changes to the UK’s comparatively expensive visa system. Read more about visa costs.
In 2019, the Presidents of the UK national Academies wrote to the Home Secretary outlining why a £30,000 salary threshold would be bad for research and innovation.
We work with the Royal Society to support Global Talent visas for researchers with exceptional talent or promise who wish to work in the UK.
We continue to champion broader recognition and team science, through our landmark 2016 team science report and 2019 follow-up workshop. Read a blog from report chair Professor Dame Anne Ridley: Now is the time to take a team-based approach to team science
We also engage with Government strategies and initiatives which aim to improve the UK's research culture. Read our response to the Government's People and Culture Strategy to find out more.
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. Find out more about this ongoing project here.
COVID-19 has caused immense disruption to biomedical and clinical researchers in various forms, with many disproportionate and uneven impacts across careers stages and disciplines. Read our workshop report on the impact of COVID-19 on biomedical research careers.