Is medical research in the government’s business plans?

Posted on November 8, 2010 by


Today, every government department published their business plan. These included a few activities and planned deadlines that are relevant to medical research.


Back in July, each of the government departments published draft structural report plans. The plan is to replace “the old, top-down systems of targets and central micromanagement” by getting each department to publish the activities it has planned and the milestones it’s aiming for. We can then see what they’re up to and check up on whether the milestones are delivered on time to see how well they’re doing. These business plans were published today.

Do they say anything about medical research?

The Business Innovation and Skills business plan focuses on science and research specifically on pages 16 to 18. It mentions reform of the Research Excellence Framework (which assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions to make decisions over funding), improving efficiency in the funding of research, and touches on the proposed Technology and Innovation Centres aimed at increasing private investment in research (these were singled out for investment in the spending review).

Milestones include:

  • A policy statement on the Haldane Principle this December (see earlier post on this)
  • A “way forward” on the Research Excellence Framework by March 2011
  • Allocation changed for quality-related research funding by July 2011 (this is the pot charity research support funding comes out of)
  • A white paper outlining the future strategy for higher education by May 2011

The plan also includes a focus on streamlining regulation and reviewing Intellectual Property.

The Department of Health business plan confirms a lot of the plans and timetables outlined in the NHS White paper. It:

  • singles out dementia research to be prioritised within the existing resources in the health and research development budget (page 21).
  • On patient data (which is of interest for medical research using patient data) it outlines that the goal to increase patient control of their records is to be implemented in April 2011 (page 8).
  • On the reorganisation and abolition of some quangoes – legislation will be introduced in December 2010 (page 17-18)

The Cabinet Office business plan includes the timings for the planned changes to quangoes (page 13-14) and states that from January 2012 the Cabinet Office will publish an annual review of remaining public bodies.

Posted in: Policy