The Times today – speculation around MRC budget cuts

Posted on September 8, 2010 by

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A piece in the Times today focused on the impact of 20% cuts to the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) budget. It suggested a worst case scenario which might involve them withdrawing cancer spend, with the expectation that charities would be able to step into the breach. Harpal Kumar from Cancer Research UK gives a  response and also included in the article is a quote from Sir John Bell, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, saying:

The ability of charities to raise money and invest is partly dependent on the public sector pulling its weight. If you leave it to the guy shaking his tin outside Sainsbury’s, that’s unlikely to play. Some of the best cancer research projects are collaborations between the public and charitable sectors. you get powerful leverage from having both.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chief Executive of MRC, commented on these concerns in a Times Higher Education Supplement article last week

“We are strong supporters of (cancer research) and removing these sorts of sums would have a huge impact,” he said. “All (funders) are contributing to the overall picture of research funding. If you remove any part of that funding you weaken the totality of it.

It’s difficult to see how any charity could single-handedly step into the breach. It’s very important that (their contribution is) additional.”

Posted in: Policy