UK receives £1 billion biomedical boost

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed a £1 billion funding pledge which he described as creating the ability to propel science forwards.

The Medical Research Council (MRC), and Wellcome announced £1 billion of funding for the Francis Crick Institute. The institute is a national flagship for biomedical research. It was formed in 2015 to understand more about how living things work to transform treatment, diagnosis and prevention of human diseases such as:

  • Cancer
  • heart disease
  • infections
  • neurodegenerative diseases.

Johnson said: “The UK’s Francis Crick Institute is at the centre of forging ground-breaking advances to beat diseases like cancer and dementia sooner, helping deliver major improvements to diagnosis and treatment as well as preventing infection in the first place.

“Thanks to £1 billion in new funding, the Crick can go further to propel scientific discovery forward, harnessing British ingenuity, supporting new innovative companies to grow, and cementing the UK’s place as a science superpower.”

The investment will cover the next seven years and go towards expanding the Crick’s “world leading” role, forging connections across the country and beyond.

“This will support the ambition to make the UK into a place where researchers work at the forefront of global innovation,” said UK Research and Innovation.

Professor John Iredale, MRC Executive Chair said: “The Crick has been a flagship discovery biomedical science centre since its formation in 2015.

“This funding from MRC, CRUK and Wellcome will continue to support them in advancing their world-class biomedical research and solving scientific challenges.”

Since its founding, the Crick has already produced important advances in human health and disease, spanning cancer, COVID-19, neurodegeneration and embryo development, and we’re proud to continue supporting their ground-breaking research.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: “From the invention of penicillin and the first successful blood transfusion to the ground-breaking coronavirus vaccination developed by Oxford scientists, the UK has an impressive legacy in the life sciences.

“This funding will support the outstanding research they do to advance biomedical discovery and develop new approaches to tackling disease, strengthening the UK’s future as a science superpower.”

Chief executive of CRUK, Michelle Mitchell, explained: “The funding that Cancer Research UK is committing to the Crick will turbocharge our efforts to beat cancer sooner.

“Cancer Research UK is supporting transformative scientific research at the Crick. Our funding, combined with the Crick’s outstanding reputation for working across scientific disciplines, will build our understanding of how cancer starts, grows and spreads.

“We are delighted to be endorsing the Crick’s ambitious scientific programme for the next seven years.

“The discoveries made in labs today will support our aspiration for 75% of people in the UK surviving their cancer for 10 years or more by 2034.”

Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Crick, said: “This is an investment that promotes UK science. The government has recognised the need to expand research budgets, because our future relies on it.

“For the UK to be a global science power, we also need to be collaborators in the international science community and critically need to maintain our current powerful links with scientists in Europe.”