Government cuts could devastate UK research

Vince Cable has announced cuts to public spending for UK research, saying that "there is no justification for taxpayers' money being used to support research which is neither commercially useful nor theoretically outstanding".

We don't agree.

The 2008-2011 science budget (link to PDF) promised over £11billion for science, including £485million ring-fenced for vital ageing research. But with major cuts predicted, science funding could fall by up to £1billion. Vince Cable's claim that research is not of an excellent standard gives a false impression.

No one can predict where research will lead - but you can't cut corners. To make the breakthroughs, you have to allow scientists to widely explore their ideas with freedom and imagination.

Fierce funding competition means British science currently punches above its weight internationally. Pioneering UK research has already led to better treatments, improved care and hopes for a Parkinson's cure. All of these achievements were built on the solid foundations of strong public research funding.

And there is still much more work to do. Restricting research now will slow the momentum we've built over the last 40 years - seriously stifling the UK's reputation as a world leader of innovative research and forcing the best researchers abroad as a result.

We all have a vital role to play in supporting innovative research and encouraging a flourishing UK Parkinson's research community. We'll be talking to politicians about the big issues affecting people with Parkinson's at upcoming political party conferences.

Help us make an impact. If you're as passionate as we are about research funding or any other issues affecting people with Parkinson's, then ask your MP to meet us at the party conferences. Your voice can make a difference.


Andrew Carmichael said...

How much of PDS supported research would be lost if funding from government bodies was stopped altogether? Presumably this would mean the MRC and University funding but pharma and charity funding would not be affected by government cuts - would it? This needs to be made clear to emphasise the point of your campaign.

Parkinson's UK said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for your question.

While Parkinson's UK research funding will hopefully continue to increase year on year, like all charities we rely upon a backbone of Government investment in research.

For instance, as a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), the Government subsidises any research we fund by paying for university overheads that go towards things like lighting and heating. This means that every pound we invest goes directly to research.

Government funding supports and maintains the university infrastructure that hosts our research projects and nurtures young scientists, and organisations like DeNDRoN (the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network) that facilitate clinical studies by providing research nurses and resources.

The research the Government funds both directly and indirectly is absolutely vital to maintaining a flourishing Parkinson's research community in the UK.

The proposed cuts could jeopardise the momentum we've been building for the last 40 years and have a truly devastating impact on medical research in the UK for years to come.

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