Funding and regulation

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 UK invests a lower proportion of our national wealth in R&D than many other leading scientific nations. Therefore, the Academy believes that the UK should increase combined public and priavate investment in R&D to 3% of GDP.

To support this ambition, we seek to provide evidence of that demonstrates the societal and economic benefits of investing in research. For example:

"Every £1 invested in medical research delivers a return equivalent to around 25p every year, for ever."

Increasing overall investment in R&D is essential to keep the Uk at the forefront of medical research, but to deliver the full benefits of this investment we must ensure that the regulatory environment that  facilitates high-quality studies and aligns with robust ethical principles.

“The Academy leads the way in bringing key players together, allowing different sectors to identify areas of common concern and to find a way to fix problems. The introduction of a better regulatory framework for health research has been a major boost to UK science and would not have happened without the hard work of the Academy.” Sir David Cooksey GBE FMedSci, Founding Chairman of The Francis Crick Institute

We work in partnership to provide evidence of the benefits of investing in research and innovation.

We jointly funded a series of evaluations of economic return from medical research. Together they show that every £1 invested in medical research delivers a return equivalent to around 25p every year, for ever. The most recent of these studies (jointly funded by Arthritis Research UK, Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council and Department of Health) examined the return on public and charitable investment in research into musculoskeletal conditions. A summary is  available here and the full research paper is published online.

In addition, the National Academies recognise the need to better understand:

  • the range of benefits that research and innovation bring to the UK
  • the distribution of those benefits across the country and its population
  • how those benefits are achieved
  • how best to measure them

In order to address these questions, the Academies assembled a Steering Group to oversee the commissioning of two evidence syntheses to build the evidence base on the impact of investing in UK research and innovation.


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