Cancer Research UK does not have all the answers..and that’s an invitation to the rest of us

I see that Cancer Research UK last week put out a press statement about the need for the UK to have strategic vision for medical research. You can find further details on their blog and they also issued a document entitled ‘Building the Right Environment for Medical Research.’ Thoughtfully the announcement and document have been […]

A 'silver cloud' with a dark lining? – medical research charities in the recession

I suspect you may have seen the bleak forecast made by charity chief executives in the latest National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) survey published today.  97% of those surveyed said they expected economic conditions to be negative and 55% advised that they would be reducing their staff. Tough times indeed.  And so this seems an opportune moment […]

Pfizer…and innovation emergencies

The news that Pfizer is to close its R&D facility in Sandwich in Kent has shaken us from our sleepy winter hollows. I’ve been watching the reactions and comments come over the wires as I am sure you have.  This is clearly a company going through considerable transition as it tries to change with the […]

Science budget: where will the money go?

If you are looking for the detail of today’s announcement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on the science budget allocations for the spending review period then please look at the excellent summary by our policy and public affairs manager, Becky Purvis, here. Further perspective from me in due course.  But, given […]

UKCMRI Gets Go-ahead…and news on CST

Those who visit this blog regularly will know that we’ve been following progress with the plans to build the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation in London ever since our first post.  So, in what feels like an early Christmas present for science, it is good to be able to report that yesterday Camden Town Hall […]

Times Letter on Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF)

A brief but important mention of the letter in today’s Times signed by over 100 cancer scientists and doctors.  The letter cites Breast Cancer Campaign (an AMRC member) and highlights the importance of the Government-backed Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF) to the funding of research in universities by medical research charities.  If you want a succinct but well-articulated case for […]

The not quite white paper on growth

UPDATE: You can find the Growth Review document published jointly by HM Treasury and the Department for Businesss here.  A quick skim through its pages suggests a collection of ‘already known’ initiatives with a short section at the back announcing a sector-by-sector consultation on barriers to growth.  From what is in the document, it is […]

David King on science funding

Former Government chief scientific adviser, David King, writes eloquently on the Nature  blog today about his concerns over the cuts in science funding announced last week.

Guest Blog: Dame Bridget Ogilvie on the spending review

A change is as good as a rest they say.  So I am delighted that our former Chair (as well as former Director of the Wellcome Trust), Dame Bridget Ogilvie, took up my invitation to give us her perspective on the spending review and its implications.  Its closing sentiments about the development of young scientists […]

Willetts on the science settlement

An extract from today’s speech by the Science Minister, David Willetts, at the HEFCE conference in London.  Medical research charities will be pleased with the recognition of their role in delivering research that he mentions several times: The other main news from the Chancellor yesterday concerned funding for science and research. It is good news […]

CSR and science funding: that morning after feeling

So understandably the debate goes on whether we should be drinking champagne or lucozade this morning after yesterday’s announcement.  But I rather liked this sobre assessment by Jenny Rohn, originator of the Science is Vital campaign which has appeared in The Guardian. The New Scientist has also published a detailed analysis penned by Imran Khan […]

The good, the not so good and the uncertain

I can only think of turning the last few hours of trying to absorb today’s announcements and figures in the following way: The good Surely even the harshest critic would have to acknowledge that, comparatively speaking, science fared well in today’s spending review.  It was certainly spared the savage cuts that we are seeing elsewhere […]

CSR – AMRC reaction on science settlement

UPDATE The full spending review document can be seen here. Note the very explicit reference and commitment to the Medical Research Council (MRC) including expenditure growth in real terms (p52). We have just had a message through from NIHR which repeats the spending review document messages and is heavy on language about pulling through the […]

CSR press reports: science spending to be 'frozen'

Well, we won’t have too long to wait to know whether this is true but the Guardian is reporting this evening that science spending is to be frozen in tomorrow’s CSR for a review period, representing a 10% reduction in real terms over that time as inflation reduces the spending power of departments. …and further […]

CSR and painting by numbers

We are packing up.  No, no, no, not in that sense.  It is just that we are moving office in a few weeks.  I am ashamed to say that I am the last of our team to begin the task of separating the recently aquired detritus from the must-keep documents that tell something of our history.  […]

Briefings on the impact on science of a cap non-EU migrants, data protection etc

A quick pass-by to alert you to the fact that we have a new briefing available on the impact on science of the proposed cap on non-EU migrants…and that we have published our response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on the current legislative framework for data protection. On the former I believe that the […]

Today in The Times: AMRC charities voice concern over changing climate for UK science

Update at 4.30pm:  Both The Guardian and The Times have been running reports this afternoon about an email from the head of Universities UK, Steve Smith, to the heads of higher eductaion institutions which has been leaked to the BBC.  They are reporting that the email warns of a £3bn cut in university teaching budgets […]

Science funding: it's the economy….!

Research Councils UK have published a report this morning written by the economist Romesh Vatilingam which looks at the economic impact of research in the UK.  It states that a £1 billion cut in science funding will costs the UK £10 billion. The British Heart Foundation have put out a news release in response. The […]

Public, private and charitable research: the spillover effect

RAND Europe and the Office of Health Economics (OHE) last week published this rather fascinating occasional paper from a seminar in May.  It examines the spillovers (wider benefits) from biomedical and health research and seems highly salient given what is going on.  I thought some of the diagrams were helpful in visualising the multilying effect of […]

Government in danger of misunderstanding charities at their peril

Language is everything in politics. We hang of every word of our politicians for any hint of a change in tone or content that might indicate whether a batlle is lost or won. The same is true of those campaigning for change. Just read my blogs from all three party conferences. It feels in this eleventh […]