Making a difference - UK health research report

We are delighted that Moorfields Eye Charity was one of the 91 Association of medical research charities (AMRC) member charities who have helped to create a clearer picture of the UK’s health and medical research landscape.  

The report, published today, delivers the most comprehensive analysis of UK health research funding ever compiled. Bringing together data from 146 charity, professional and public sector organisations, the UK Health Research Analysis 2018 found that in 2018 these funders contributed £4.8 billion to support research to improve human health. 

This latest report is the fourth in a series that charts changes in health research over the last 14 years. From 2004 to 2009, the reports found that public and charitable support for health research grew, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5%, then over the last ten years funding for health research remained, in real terms, almost level with a CAGR of 1.5% (2009 to 2018).

More data allows for greater analysis

The Health Research Analysis Forum (HRAF) had an objective to widen participation in the analysis to deliver greater representation of funding across disease areas, research activities, and geography.  In the last report, the combined spend on eye research was £17.7m (0.93% of the total spend) while in this new report, this has increased to £33m (1.3% of the total spend). 

But this is still incredibly low  - especially when you consider the burden of disease. Research spend and burden of diease

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.  

Translation of findings into new treatments and healthcare benefits

The current report notes that main areas to receive the highest increases in proportion of investment were research activities important for translation - research that aids translating 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.  The AMRC infographic below highlights the unipue role medical research charities play in the UK health research landscape. Click on the image to find out more. 

AMRC infographic highlights impact

About the 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.

Read more about the research we support.