Today’s post comes from the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), following the launch of their brand new infographic detailing medical research charities’ investment, innovation and impact in 2014. Find out the facts behind the data in the accompanying blog below, originally posted by the AMRC.

Medical research charities are here to fund research that will improve the lives of people and patients the UK and around the world. We know that the public see medical research as a priority – it’s the UK’s most popular cause (CAF UK giving report 2014). As charities, we need to show how this money is making a difference.

Our new infographic ‘Medical Research Charities: investment; innovation; impact’ shows the extent of the charity sector’s investment, the types of research it funds and some of the impacts resulting from this research.

Investment

pieAMRC members fund over a third of publicly funded medical research nationally. In 2014, our members spent £1.3bn supporting research in all disease areas and through all stages of the research process.

Since 2008, charities have invested more than £8bn in research here in the UK, demonstrating a strong commitment to improving patient lives through medical and health research. Our analysis of the trends in research and investment over the last 7 years shows that while spending was maintained in 2014, growth is hard to come by. When adjusted for inflation, spending on research has not returned to pre-recession levels. In addition, for many of our members, funding research is just one of the ways they fulfil their strategic vision and we have seen the amount spent by our charities on non-research charitable activities increase over the years. Charities have to balance the strategic challenge of meeting commitments to research, which may yield cures in the future, with supporting patients facing diseases now.

Across the research pipeline

CauseCureCareCharities fund research into the causes of disease, their cure and the care of people affected. The recent Health Research Analysis looked at research funded by 64 public and charity funders, analysing grants that were active in 2014. It showed that charity and government funding complement each other to fund across the research pipeline.

Medical research charities support a wide range of activities including research into:

  • the cause of a disease – supporting the development of new knowledge that will lead to cures
  • the cure for a disease – focusing on detecting and diagnosing diseases and developing new treatments
  • the care of people living with the disease – examining how to provide better care for people with the condition as well as looking at the design of health and social care services

Making a difference

coinsFor the first time, we have been able to look at some of the outputs and impacts from research funded by our charities. To achieve this we analysed data from 13 charities collected through Researchfish in two areas of impact; “further funding” and “impacts on policy and practice”. You can find out more about our methodology here.

Medical research charities are de-risking research as projects funded by charities attract follow-on funding from other charities, government, private and academic funding sources. Funding from charities leads to inward investment from around the world – UK researchers receive follow-on grants from Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

We can also show that charity-funded research is influential. In total, over 300 influences on policy and practice were reported in the period 2012-14; charity funded research is cited in guidance; people funded by charities provide expert advice to government; and research findings are used to develop new practices.

Working together

This data could not have been produced without the agreement and close collaboration of our members. While each funder rightly needs to focus on its own particular cause, sharing data, knowledge and expertise allows us to create a richer picture of the medical research ecosystem. This enables us to understand where impacts may arise, and how they can be hastened.

AMRC will be continuing to work in this area, examining what impact means for our charities, and how it can be measured and articulated. We look forward to working with you on this.

This blog was originally posted by the AMRC on 24 September. You can see the original post here.