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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Association of Medical Research Charities: Spending Data

by Nick Perkins

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), of which we are proud to be a member, recently updated its data about how its members have been spending their funds over the last five years.

As you’d expect from an organisation consisting of medical research charities, the clear majority of the money has been spent to fund research based in the UK (£7.2 billion). This was more than double the amount of non-research spending (which covers activities such as education, care, support, welfare, campaigning, information etc).

The vast majority of spending came from the AMRC’s larger member charities – although it is noticeable just how big the research budgets of larger health charities are and how these rapidly diminish as you progress down the membership list. The highest spender, the Wellcome Trust (£4.3 billion) spent nearly double the amount of the second-ranked charity, Cancer Research UK (£2.2 billion, who themselves spent more than three times the amount of the British Heart Foundation [£646 million], who came in third).

Another interesting thing to note was that a small proportion (6% or £787 million) of AMRC members’ spending over the last 5 years was funding overseas research.

At Brain Tumour Research, all of our research funding is spent on UK-based research. This is not because we don’t believe in international collaboration (in fact, quite the contrary, we think it is vital), but rather that this is a result of our Centres of Excellence model, whereby we aim to spend the monies so generously raised by our supporters, Member Charities and Fundraising Groups in a manner that facilitates continuous and sustainable brain tumour research at UK universities, supporting the Government’s ambition to keep the UK at the forefront of world-leading science.

The Research Centres of Excellence we support provide an arena where the most promising scientists are given experience which helps them fulfil their potential. In turn, this facilitates the development of a strong UK research base in the area of neuro-oncology. What’s more, this encourages researchers to remain in this area rather than being tempted into other areas of cancer research which attract greater funding.

With long-term funding covering the key salaried positions within our Centres of Excellence, the scientists are able to pursue continuous research.

By building outstanding teams of researchers, our Centres enable the development of strategic research plans to explore new avenues. Day-by-day they are identifying pieces of the jigsaw that will bring us closer to the key breakthrough that the brain tumour world so desperately needs.

We believe that spending money in this way represents the best possible value, funding today’s scientific research, whilst at the same time building the capacity to undertake effective research in the future.

Another advantage of our funding model is the transparency it provides. Our supporters can literally see what we fund by visiting our Research Centres of Excellence to hear the latest ground-breaking research updates first-hand from our expert world-class scientists, tour the facilities and see experiments in action.

We rely entirely on the fundraising efforts of our supporters, without which brain tumour research would not be on the agenda. With charitable spending comprising a large part of the UK’s overall spend on health research, it begs the question of what the future would hold for patients without medical research charities?

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