Feature Research funding

An unlikely benefactor

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39506.495868.AD (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:746
  1. Geoff Watts, freelance journalist
  1. 1London
  1. geoff{at}scileg.freeserve.co.uk

    Money for research has tended to be compartmentalised by discipline, but, as Geoff Watts reports, one funding body is broadening its horizons

    Think of the government funding sources that underpin most UK research in medicine and health care and what comes to mind? The Medical Research Council, obviously; and, more recently, the National Institute for Health Research. But what about the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council? Readers may be surprised to learn that an organisation operating in this territory has recently identified next generation healthcare as one of its four priorities. Why this choice?

    The council drew up its priorities for funding in response to a government statement setting out the key challenges now facing UK society.1 Kedar Pandya, head of the council’s life sciences interface programme, is overseeing the next generation healthcare activities. One factor in the choice of theme, he says, was the government’s interest in putting more emphasis on the lifelong maintenance of good health and wellbeing. Another was a consultation with the council’s advisory board of senior academics and industrialists. “We looked at our strengths, and two that emerged were medical …

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