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Working together for patients and economic growth

28 January 2015

An infographic showing the contributions of the UK medical research funders and some key outputs


UK Medical Research Funders

Medical Research Council (MRC) research spend of £845m

In 2013/14, the MRC’s gross research expenditure, which is funded by a budgetary allocation from BIS together with grants and contributions from external bodies and other Government departments, was £845.3m.
Source: Medical Research Council Annual report and accounts 2013/14

NIHR research spend of £1.1bn

Total NIHR spend in 2013/14 was £1.1bn
Source: NIHR Annual Report 2013/14 (in print)

Note: the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) supports clinical research in England only. Equivalent organisations that support clinical research in the devolved nations are:

  • Northern Ireland - the Health and Social Care R&D Office supports the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network
  • Scotland - the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office supports the Scottish Clinical Research Networks.
  • Wales - the Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care supports the Clinical Research Collaboration Cymru.

Industry R&D spend of £4.1bn

Pharmaceutical industry expenditure on R&D in 2013 was £4.1 billion, accounting for 22% of total expenditure on R&D performed in UK businesses.
Office for National Statistics. Statistical Bulletin: Business Enterprise Research and Development, 2013. 20 November 2014

Charity spend of £1.3bn
AMRC’s members invested £1.3bn in UK medical research in 2013.

Source: AMRC research expenditure database 2013, excluding capital expenditure

Studies show that public investment in research increases private sector investment
Public investment in research increases rather than diminishes private sector investment
Campaign for Science and Engineering, The Economic Significance of the UK Science Base, 2014 

Charities fund over a third of all publicly-supported UK medical research
AMRC’s members invested £1.3bn in UK medical research in 2013, representing one third of all public investment

Source: AMRC research expenditure database 2013, excluding capital expenditure

Funding through the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE)

Note that funding through HEFCE supports medical research in England only. The following funding councils support research in the devolved nations:

  • Northern Ireland – Department for Development and Learning
  • Scotland – Scottish Funding Council
  • Wales - Higher Education Funding Council for Wales

Working together for patients and economic growth

£1 investment in medical research returns around 40p each year

Source:  Matthew Glover, Martin Buxton, Susan Guthrie, Stephen Hanney, Alexandra Pollitt and Jonathan Grant (2014) Estimating the returns to UK publicly funded cancer-related research in terms of the net value of improved health outcomes. BMC Medicine, 12:99

Note that the 40p figure relates to cancer-related research funded by the taxpayer and charities; other diseases analysed have returned similar figures, including cardiovascular and mental health research (39 pence and 37 pence respectively).

176,000 people employed by life sciences companies in the UK
This figure includes people working for medical technology, medical biotechnology, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector companies in the UK.
Source: Bioscience and health technology database: annual report 2013. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Office for Life Sciences. Published 14 February 2014.

One eighth of the world’s most popular prescription medicines were developed in the UK
Source: The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry. Delivering value to the UK: the contribution of the pharmaceutical industry to patients, the NHS and the economy. December 2014.

The life sciences industry generates a trade surplus of £5bn for the UK per year

Source: Life Sciences UK. From vision to action: delivery of the Strategy for UK Life Sciences. January 2014.

The UK is home to 4 of the world’s top 6 universities
Source: QS World University Rankings 2014

Every £1 increase in public funding for medical research stimulates up to £5 of investment by the pharmaceutical industry
Source: Health Economics Research Group, Office of Health Economics, RAND Europe (2008) Medical Research: What’s it worth? Estimating the economic benefits from medical research in the UK 

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