Intended for healthcare professionals


Interdependencies among clinical research funders

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 14 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4892
  1. F D Richard Hobbs, head of primary care health sciences
  1. 1Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, New Radcliffe House, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, University of Oxford, OX2 6NW
  1. richard.hobbs{at}

Metrics for British cancer research show it’s a national success story

The United Kingdom may have finally emerged from its longest economic slump in more than a century,1 but further deep cuts in government spending are expected in an attempt to reduce the country’s deficit.

Rather than cutting acute healthcare services, a raid on medical research budgets may seem more palatable to government ministers. So would such a step matter, beyond its obvious impact on academic researchers?

This question was explored in a recent report commissioned by Cancer Research UK,2 which is responsible for around a third of the £1bn (€1.26bn; $1.7bn) a year awarded by UK medical charities to researchers.3

Based on a series of systematic reviews and bibliometric analyses of research published in 2011, augmented by interviews with senior cancer researchers and funding representatives, the report draws several conclusions.

Firstly, it reconfirms the relative global importance of medical research in the UK,4 at least in cancer research. As a country, Britain continues to punch well above …

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