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

COVID-19 has put all parts of society under significant financial strain and the 2020 Spending Review is an opportunity to invest in the UK’s social and economic recovery. Supporting the life sciences will be crucial on both fronts: for improving patient outcomes and helping the NHS rapidly recover; to creating high-paying jobs and levelling up research infrastructure across the UK.

The full extent of these benefits will only be possible if the research landscape has long-term certainty. We have joined with charities, companies and other organisations across the life sciences sector to call for strategic investment in research over multiple years, so it can continue to help the UK recover from COVID-19. This includes:

  • Bolstering the budgets of key research funding bodies, to help Government reach their goal of investing £22bn in research and development (R&D) by 2024/25
  • Supporting charities through a significant drop in funding, so they can keep playing their essential role in the funding landscape
  • Investing in the infrastructure and workforce that will make the UK a destination of choice for clinical research


You can read and download the full statement on the right-hand side of this page.


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