Yes... no ... yes it is new money

September 28, 2007

There was as much confusion as there was excitement over Gordon Brown's announcement this week of a £15 billion spend on medical research over the next ten years.

In his conference speech, he was "proud to announce" the funding, for the Medical Research Council and the National Health Service, to "finance the genius of British researchers and doctors".

It took some time for experts to work out if this actually meant any new money - the Government confirmed last year that it would be creating a single health research budget, from which the MRC and a new National Institute for Health Research would receive funds.

While some newspapers denounced the pledge as "old", eventually Hilary Leevers, the acting director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, agreed that there was indeed new money. "It is excellent news that the funding level will be up from the equivalent of about £1.3 billion a year to £1.5 billion, but with inflation this might not be as substantial an increase as it might seem," she told The Times Higher .

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