Cash injection to boost medical research

Applications have opened in what the government is billing as the largest ever funding programme for translational research in medicine.

March 7, 2011

As announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review last October, the Department of Health is increasing the funding available for the National Institute of Health Research’s network of biomedical research centres and units by around 30 per cent.

Each centre and unit is a partnership between an NHS trust and a university focusing on developing new treatments for patients.

The network was first established by the Labour government in 2007, but its funding is now up for renewal. A further £750 million over five years is being made available.

The existing 12 centres, to which most of the funding is dedicated, and 16 units, which plug any gaps in expertise, are being required to compete against new bidders.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the funding would help maintain the UK’s position as a centre of scientific excellence.

“A strong science and research base is crucial to help secure sustainable economic growth, helping to rebalance the economy and create the jobs of the future, which is why despite tough spending decisions we have protected its funding,” he said.

Applications are being encouraged to focus on high priority diseases such as dementia, cancer and heart disease.

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