At a briefing held at the Science Media Centre this week Aisling Burnand the Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) laid out the impact that the pandemic is having, and will have, on funding for vital medical research. We are proud members of the AMRC and what was presented about the sector in general at this briefing is reflected specifically in the jeopardy facing our funding for brain tumour research.
Ms Burnand said “The impact the crisis is having is immediate with significant long-term repercussions for medical research, the pandemic has put the future at risk”
Michelle Mitchell, head of Cancer Research UK, the largest charitable funder of cancer research in the world, also spoke at the briefing of the “devastating” impact of COVID-19 which could result in a £150 million drop in research spending in 2020.
“We’re in danger of destroying a decade’s worth of work, infrastructure and talent,” Mitchell said. The charity has already cut £44 million from research this year.
Further cuts “could mean thousands of early stage researchers being underfunded. We’re holding back clinical trials, slowing new treatments,” she said. The charity spent £500 million on research last year and a loss of £150 million is the “equivalent of 10 years’ worth of clinical trials going unfunded,” said Mitchell.
The UK government has injected £750 million into charities during the pandemic, but this money has gone to charities providing frontline services, and has not made its way to medical research.
“We face an unprecedented funding crisis; the single biggest challenge in our history,” said Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, where income is expected to fall by half, from £100 million to £50 million.
“This is a crisis for talent,” Griffiths said. “We could lose a generation of researchers because of this shock.”
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