The UK government announced that a record £800 million ($1.32 billion) in funding would be set aside for translational research to boost the development of medicines, treatments, and care for patients, particularly in the fields of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, four new biomedical research units, which specialize in dementia research, will receive awards.
The investment will help develop National Health Service (NHS) and university partnerships through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in a program that is scheduled to run for five years. The NIHR more broadly provides the framework in which the research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained, and managed as a national research facility.
The 31 awards announced today will go to partnerships with industry and charities, aiding in the development of the country’s science and research base, and securing the UK as a world leader in health research.
According to Prime Minister David Cameron, “A strong competitive science and research base is a crucial part of securing sustainable economic growth and creating jobs of the future, and we have some of the best scientists and facilities in the world. This investment will help ensure we continue to be at the cutting edge.”
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley added, “As part of our £4 billion ($6.6 billion) investment in [R&D], we have committed £800 million for translational research – developing exciting new science into tangible, effective treatments that can be used across the NHS.”
There is an emphasis on “translational research” and a clear expectation that the funding should drive scientific research through to actual patient benefits. “By focusing on translational research across a wide range of diseases, the centers and units will help pull new scientific discoveries into benefits for NHS patients. I believe they will make a significant impact on the health of the population,” said Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer.