Ahead of the government’s Autumn Statement, the UK DRI has joined a call led by the Academy of Medical Sciences, for the Chancellor to place medical and health research at the heart of plans for growth.
Signed by the UK DRI and other leading biomedical and health research institutions from the private and charitable sector including Pfizer, Wellcome, BioIndustry Association, Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, the call aims to highlight the need to maintain the commitments to invest in research as a driver for health and wealth across the UK and globally.
The critical role played by biomedical and health research in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic serves to highlight its importance in addressing future threats to our health and economic security. This is in addition to tackling urgent pressures including dementia, mental health, cancer, heart disease, and growing health inequalities.
Call for the Chancellor to place medical and health research at the heart of economic plans
For the nation’s growth, security, stability and wellbeing, this Government must place medical and health research at the heart of its economic plans. The Government is facing difficult decisions, but an investment in research is crucial for health and wealth across the whole of the UK and around the world.
The Autumn Statement is an opportunity to send a strong message that the UK is open for business and remains a premier destination to work on health research that improves lives.
Health research is one of the UK’s great strengths driven by talented people, world-class universities, a thriving life sciences industry, patient-centred medical research charities and the unrivalled research potential of the NHS. This brings health benefits to patients and public and delivers economic returns to the country of 25p per pound investment, each year, forever.
We therefore call on Government to recommit to making the UK a global hub for life sciences as set out in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto and maintaining the 2021 Spending Review commitment to invest £20bn per year by 2024/25 and £22bn by 2026/27 in public R&D.
- Ensuring health research investment is balanced across Government research funders and maintaining previously set out commitments for both UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
- Reaffirming that funding set aside for association to Horizon Europe will be spent on research and innovation whether or not we are able to associate.
- Supporting public investment with internationally competitive R&D tax incentives that will leverage further private investment from innovative and research-intensive life sciences companies.
Renewed investment will drive innovation, create high-skilled jobs in high-growth industries and improve the nation’s health. Such stability would allow the best ideas to flourish and provide certainty for the talented people and innovative businesses pursuing health research in the UK.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the immediate and long-term impacts that poor health has on people and the economy. The UK medical science sector led the fight against this threat and the resulting vaccines and treatments were a global triumph.
But we cannot be complacent. We must learn from the pandemic, recognising that it is long-term investment in UK science that facilitated this success.
There will be further threats to our health and economic security, alongside urgent pressures including mental health, cancer and heart disease, and the need to tackle growing health inequalities. We must invest accordingly to protect the nation’s economic and human health.
Now is the time to reassert and deliver on plans to maximise the benefits of medical research to the economy and to people’s lives.
The Academy of Medical Sciences
Association of Medical Research Charities
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
British Heart Foundation
Cancer Research UK
The Institute of Cancer Research
UK BioIndustry Association
UK Dementia Research Institute
Media coverage: BBC News
Source: Academy of Medical Sciences
Article published: 11 November 2022
Banner image: The Academy of Medical Sciences, BigT Images