This afternoon we have published our response to the Academy of Medical Sciences’ call for evidence on proposals for a single research regulator. You can find the full text if you click on the ‘AMRC Statements’ tab at the top of the page or here.
Our submission is based on a survey of our members and although only a fifth responded, I believe it is indicative of the views across AMRC’s membership. Two quotes from the survey capture the willingness of medical research charities to champion such reform:
‘A single system should be an exemplar for the rest of the world in supporting (not obstructing) a first class research system.’
but also their typical down-to-earth approach to these matters:
‘Regulation should ensure that participation in research studies is safe, but at the same time it should not significantly hinder the research itself and enable it to proceed in an effective and timely manner. We are in favour of any regulatory environment, whether it be a single regulator or multiple regulators, that will ensure this is the case.’
In summary, we believe a single research regulator is a good idea in principle as long as: we are clear about its role and function; it has the necessary capacity, capabilities and resources to deliver on its mission and; it results in a safe, efficient and effective regulatory framework and system. You may also wish to note the comments and ideas on public accountability and the comparatively low rating of public engagement as a priority activity for such a body when compared to other possible functions.
We have energy for the idea but nor do we see it as a magic bullet.