And cash keeps on coming...

July 19, 2002

As chancellor Gordon Brown sat down after delivering his speech in Parliament, the Wellcome Trust announced details of its own £280 million spending review, writes Caroline Davis.

The world's largest independent medical research charity said the extra cash would be spent across science education, research and knowledge transfer over the next five years.

In contrast to the chancellor's something-for-something philosophy, researchers get flexibility in how they spend Wellcome's funds.

Wellcome Trust director Mike Dexter said: "Flexibility is lacking at the moment. Researchers should be able to carry on their work without having to constantly look over their shoulders and preparing 15-page proposals."

The trust spent more than £500 million on infrastructure with the government in the past two spending reviews. This year, it will put only £25 million towards government schemes.

Dr Dexter said: "We're not trying to upstage the government. It's to show we strongly support them.

"We were included in all their decision-making processes and are pleased with the outcome."

Dr Dexter said the trust was delighted with the chancellor's plans, in particular with the increased pay for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.

But he said that he was concerned that no progress had been made on improving career opportunities for women in science.

Dr Dexter added that it was unclear whether the review would help contract researchers.

WHERE THE WELLCOME MONEY WILL GO

* £25 million towards a national centre for improving teaching in science

* £30 million Value in People fund to offer grants of up to £250,000 to universities to spend as they choose with the priority being to kick-start promising scientists' careers

* £60 million Flexibility Funding Awards to provide cash to researchers for unanticipated direct costs associated with research

* £30 million equipment grants

* £95 million Sanger Institute extension for post-genomics

* £40 million translation fund to develop research results into commercial propositions

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