Analysing UK health research
27 January 2020
We’re delighted to be one of 91 AMRC member charities who contributed to the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 report, creating a clearer picture of the UK’s health and medical research landscape.
The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is the national membership organisation for leading health and medical research charities.
The UK Health Research Analysis 2018 report brings together data from 146 charity, professional and public sector organisations, delivering the most comprehensive analysis of UK health research funding ever compiled.
Importantly, it showed that these funders contributed £4.8 billion in 2018 to support research to improve human health.
This report is the fourth in a series that charts changes in health research over the last 14 years.
More data allows for greater analysis
The Health Research Analysis Forum (HRAF) aimed to widen participation in the analysis to provide a better representation of funding across disease areas, research activities and geography.
This report shows that the combined spend on eye research has grown from £17.7m (0.93% of the total spend) to £33m (1.3% of the total spend).
This is good news but it’s still incredibly low - especially when you consider the burden of disease.
What is burden of disease?
Burden of disease is a factor that has previously been used as a comparator for research investment across different diseases.
This report uses Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) as a measure of burden of disease. DALYs are calculated by combining two established metrics and together estimates that 1 DALY = one lost year of ‘healthy’ life.
When taken together, eyes and ears only get 1.7% of all health research spending but make up 5% DALY rate.
Translating findings into new treatments and healthcare benefits
The report shows that the areas benefitting from the highest increases in proportion of funding were in research that helps transform scientific discoveries into new treatments and healthcare benefits. Early detection of disease and the development and evaluation of new treatments were the main areas that received increased funding, totalling £523 million over 14 years.
It also highlights the unique role medical research charities play in the UK health research landscape. You can find out more about this in the link below.
About this report
The report was compiled by a collaboration of 12 public and charitable funders led by the Medical Research Council, on behalf of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC).
The UKCRC partnership supports coordination and collaboration between the major stakeholders that influence clinical research in the UK, and these efforts are underpinned by an analysis of UK health research funding every four to five years.
This dataset has been made publicly available so that other funders can perform their own analyses to promote the use of landscaping analyses to better support biomedical funding in the future.