Charities' part in research

May 5, 1995

Graeme Davies is reported (THES, April 14) as stating that "universities are particularly bad at recovering costs from charities". The position of the medical research charities, 74 per cent of whose expenditure supports medical research in universities, needs to be made quite clear. The research supported is not "commercial", it is that which university staff wish to do, it is stringently peer-reviewed, and its purpose is for the public benefit.

Universities benefit as much as charities from this support. The research is taken into account in the quality assessment reviews. Many of the researchers whose work is supported by charities also undertake teaching and other academic responsibilities. The Association of Medical Research Charities believes therefore that charities should not be treated as commercial concerns and should not be required to pay the indirect costs. Medical research charities do pay for the direct costs of the research but will not contribute to infrastructure or overhead costs which they see as the responsibility of the universities, one of whose functions is to carry out research and who are funded by Government to do so.

JUNE LLOYD

Scientific adviser. Association of Medical Research Charities

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