Published: 2 February 2024

By Catriona Manville, Director of Research Policy, and Dan Worth, Data and Insights Analyst, AMRC

This week, the latest Health Research Analysis Forum Report was published, painting an incredible picture of the mixture of public funding that contributes to UK research, and the vital role charities play in this 

What does the analysis involve?

The UK Health Research Analysis, led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and overseen by a forum of funders and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), is a comprehensive overview of publicly funded UK health research.  AMRC and its members have taken part in the report series, published at roughly five yearly intervals, since it started two decades ago. The previous reports were shared widely and had a major impact, providing the basis for high level strategy discussions and informing several joint funding initiatives. 

The public funders taking part in the analysis submitted data on grants active during 2022. Where possible the data were coded, either manually or using an automated algorithm to include the health categories and stage of research activity. This combined dataset was analysed and reported on by the UKRI-MRC. 

What does it tell us about AMRC charities?

A record number of AMRC charities participated in the latest analysis: increasing from 77 in 2018 to 124 in 2022. This is 83% of our membership, representing 99% of their investment in UK health research, which makes the report more comprehensive than ever. Thank you to our member charities for all your time and data! 
The analysis found that AMRC members funded over £1.2 billion health research in the UK in 2022 [1]. This equates to a third of active publicly-funded research [2] and 42% (7,435) of all grants reported. 

Our charities funded across all health areas, spending more than £1.5 million in each health category. They provided a particularly high proportion of funding for several health categories: contributing two thirds of public investment for research into cancer and neoplasm (66%) and cardiovascular health (63%); a third of public investment into the inflammatory and immune system (38%), and neurological health (34%); and over a quarter of public investment into generic health relevance (28%) and the eye (26%). 

Other* [3]

AMRC members funded across each stage of research. Collectively they invested more than any other public funders in treatment development, accounting for 46% of public investment. They also contributed nearly half of public investment in underpinning biology (44%) and the cause of disease (43%). 

What’s next? 

The Health Research Analysis Forum Report shows the vital role that medical research charities play in funding UK research across each research stage and every health area.  It’s important to note that although this analysis is comprehensive it is only one angle of the picture of publicly funded UK health research. It doesn’t take into account the partnerships between funders or the outcomes and impacts achieved from the funding. There are also methodological limitations for what gets coded, restrictions of automated coding – and even what the codes capture.  For example, the health categories are very broad, and this doesn’t allow us to classify research as rare disease, or in areas such as child health.   

We hope there will be more opportunities to work with others across the system to better map and highlight what is unique about UK research, where public, private and charity funding can keep the UK at the forefront of international life sciences.


[1] Avid readers will note the difference between this value and the figures published in AMRC’s sector footprint which show a £1.9 billion investment in 2022. The reason for this difference is that the figures here report an annualised investment on grants active in 2022, whereas the AMRC sector footprint uses investment as reported by charities through their accounts, which may include funding awarded but not yet given out. 

[2] This and the following figures in this blog are calculated from direct awards only, excluding indirect contributions, such as investment classified as infrastructure, grants awarded to institutions overseas or un-coded data.  

[3] Other includes all areas where under £10 million was spent.  These areas are: eye, congenital disorders, ear, stroke, renal and urogenital, reproductive health and childbirth, blood, skin, oral and gastrointestinal, injuries and accidents, respiratory, disputed aetiology and other.