Investment is aimed at sparking a new wave of revolutionary medical research across the industry.

  • £50 million given to 90 charities to fund revolutionary new medical research into diseases such as cancer, dementia and motor neurone disease.
  • Over 1,200 early career researchers set to benefit from the funding, sustaining the future of the medical research industry.
  • Funding backs PM’s priorities to support the NHS, provide improved treatments and cut waiting lists.

Over 1,200 researchers in medical research charities will receive over £50 million in funding to help solve some of the biggest global health challenges and secure the future of the UK’s world-class life sciences sector.

Announced by Science Minister George Freeman today (Sunday 2 April), the funding will support researchers across 90 charities early on in their careers at a time when the UK is committing record amounts to R&D, reaching £20 billion a year by 2024/25. The £50 million investment is aimed at sparking a new wave of revolutionary medical research across the industry, including in dementia, motor neurone disease and brain tumour research.

Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:

The next generation of researchers are the key to solving the greatest medical challenges of our times, tackling hundreds of different diseases and conditions, preventing illnesses and developing lifechanging therapies.

By investing in those very people that make up our world-class medical research community, we hope to inspire a new wave of budding researchers that can continue to improve the lives of those affected by these diseases across the UK.

Ninety charities across the UK have received the funding, ranging from larger household names to smaller charities working on rarer diseases such as cystic fibrosis or conditions such as epilepsy. Regional charities operating across the UK such as the Yorkshire Cancer Research and Wessex Medical Trust are included, alongside charities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Over £2.8 million will be delivered to dementia charities, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, supporting early career researchers to defeat dementia by researching the causes, cure, care, and prevention of the disease. 

Over £1.3 million will also be delivered to brain tumour charities and over £1.7 million to motor neurone disease charities, two causes that are close to the hearts of many affected by it through their own experiences or that of friends and family across the UK.

Other examples of charities receiving funding include:

  • Epilepsy Research UK
  • North West Cancer Research
  • Medical Research Scotland
  • Wellbeing of Women
  • Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI

Minister of State for Science, Research & Innovation George Freeman said:

Medical research charities from Cancer Research UK to the thousands of smaller specialist charities like Cure Leukamia , the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the MND Association are the jewels in the crown of UK Medical Research and patient access to medical breakthroughs.

Medical charity fundraising collapsed in the pandemic. That’s why we’re extending our pandemic relief with this £50m Government funding to help 90 medical research charities support over 1,000 early career researchers.

Minister of State for Health Will Quince said:

We’re cementing our position as a global leader in life sciences by investing in the next generation of medical researchers to cultivate and harness the innovation of young, pioneering minds and secure the future of our healthcare.

This is yet another example of how we’re leading the way to support research into conditions like dementia and helping accelerate the delivery of cutting-edge medical advancements and bolstering patient care through faster and more accurate diagnoses.

First introduced in 2021 to provide economic security to medical research charities in the wake of the COVID pandemic, the Medical Research Charities Early Career Researchers Support Fund is helping to attract, retain, and develop the most talented and diverse researchers into these roles so that the budding world-class researchers of tomorrow are persuaded to work, remain, and develop within the UK, underpinning the Government’s plans to make the UK into a science and technology superpower.

Early career researchers are the lifeblood of the UK’s medical research community, serving as the future of life sciences research which aims to tackle hundreds of different diseases and conditions, seeking to prevent illness, develop therapies and generally improve public health.

In the Science and Technology Framework published in March, the newly formed Department for Science, Innovation and Technology identified boosting public investment into research and development as a key target for government, seeking to foster new economic growth and better productivity across the industry.

The Medical Research Charities Early Career Researchers Support Fund (2022-23) is administered by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) with the help of the Association of Medical Research Charities and is made up of £45m funding from Department for Science, Innovation and Technology alongside £5m from the Department for Health and Social Care.

Published 2 April 2023