Medical charities plan cuts to funding

Survey shows that some plan to slash research budgets by up to 40 per cent. Zoë Corbyn reports

May 27, 2009

A quarter of medical research charities say they plan to reduce their funding to universities, in some cases by as much as 40 per cent, because of a decline in charitable giving caused by the recession.

A survey of members of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), an umbrella group of the UK’s leading medical and health research charities, reveals that more than three quarters of the 117 charities predict that the downturn will have a “significant impact” on their work. It reports that investments, legacies, corporate giving and public donations are all under pressure.

Nearly 26 per cent said they planned to curtail research funding in 2009-10, with reductions of between 10 and 40 per cent, while just over half said they planned to keep research funding at the same level, bucking a previous trend for growth.

Only one tenth of respondents said they expected their funding to increase in 2009-10.

AMRC members spent an estimated £936 million on research in 2008-09, compared with £826 million in the previous 12 months.

Smaller charities that fund work into less common conditions were being “hit particularly hard”, said Simon Denegri, the AMRC’s chief executive.

He called on public donors and the Government to provide more support.

“The AMRC’s members are actively looking at closer collaboration, co-funding and other options for working in partnership as a means of both cutting costs and making the money they raise go further in supporting quality research,” he said. “We urge the Government to support these efforts by not only maintaining its investment in science but also continuing to focus attention on reducing the regulatory burden.”

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