Medical research charities have issued their strongest warning yet that they will not pay for university infrastructure, such as laboratories or major equipment. They are increasingly worried that universities will ask them for money to compensate for Government cuts in capital expenditure.
In its latest newsletter the Association of Medical Research Charities says it is "concerned that universities are suffering severe difficulties in maintaining their research infrastructure". It says that it is the Government's responsibility to pay for offices, basic equipment, rent, insurance and central computer facilities.
"Opportunities for new initiatives or for expansion are severely limited," it says. "Larger medical research charities have helped where they can in provision of some flexible longer term support for university research and in the funding of new initiatives and buildings but this generosity is possible only for a few charities and in a limited range of scientific fields."
Diana Garnham, secretary of the AMRC, said that its position was now "much stronger and much clearer". She said some charities were reporting an increase in applications for funds for major pieces of equipment and for refurbishment. "There is evidence that charities will have to meet more of the costs than five years ago if they want to establish a unit in a university. Smaller charities are frightened of doing that sort of thing. It really needs to be sorted out."