Health charities will suffer if coalition stops giving generously

Medical research charities want funding protected in spending review

June 20, 2013

Source: AMRC

Please give: the AMRC needs government support, says Sharmila Nebhrajani

Charities need a commitment that government support will not be cut in the 2015-16 spending review, the chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities has said.

The government currently spends £198 million a year on the Charity Research Support Fund, distributed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. This covers the indirect costs of the almost £1 billion that charities spend on UK university research each year.

“We haven’t had a commitment that [the fund] will extend beyond 2014-15 and certainly not about the level at which it will continue…and I think charities need it,” Sharmila Nebhrajani told Times Higher Education.

“I think the other thing is the important signalling role that the government plays in the way it supports science. What would it say to the donating public who are still finding a share of household income [for charities] if the government is not finding its share?”

Overall spending on research by medical charities in the UK was flat in 2012 at £1.2 billion, according to data from the association published on 20 June.

Ms Nebhrajani said that the figure was pleasing under the economic circumstances, but she added that, in real terms, spending had not yet recovered to pre-2008 levels.

Meanwhile, the estimated total amount donated to medical charities fell from £11 billion in 2011 to £9.3 billion in 2012, which may have an effect on available future funding.

Ms Nebhrajani added that since 2008-09, medical charities have allocated a reduced portion of their otherwise rising spending on research (65 per cent in 2012, down from 77 per cent in 2008), as demands on other services such as care, support and patient information have risen during the economic downturn.

“We have to make sure research as a long-term need doesn’t get sacrificed…to provide increasing care and support,” she added.

Figures show that the proportion of research spending by AMRC members that goes overseas has also increased, accounting for 10 per cent in 2012, up from 5 per cent in 2009. Ms Nebhrajani said that this was especially true of work translating research into medicines because, in some fields, UK capacity is smaller than charities would like.

Overall research spending from the association’s 124 members fell in 2010 after five years of rapid growth. In 2012 it changed the way it analyses member data, with figures from 2008, 2009 and 2010 being reported previously as 2009‑10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry

But the highest value UK spin-off companies mainly come from research-intensive universities, latest figures show