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Medical Research Spending Has Fallen By £310m During COVID

Sun Aug 16 2020

The Association of Medical Research Charities warns it could be four years before spending returns to a pre-COVID level

In a recent statement discussing the worrying drop in spending, the Association of Medical Research Charities has said its members were worried it could fall by as much as 41% over the next year.

The drop in spending is on non-commercial medical research and has already reached £310m during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Association of Medical Research Charities, in 2019, accounted for £1.9bn of spending in the non-medical research arena, or 51% of UK spend.


However, since the UK went into lockdown back in March, AMRC charities were reporting a 38% loss in fundraising revenue (YoY).

This has meant may of the nonprofit organisations that make up the AMRC have had to stop most or all research, withdraw funding, furlough staff or in the worst-case scenarios make redundancies.

Averaging it out across all of AMRC’s member organisations, 34% of staff have had to be furloughed with 73 clinical trials halted although some charities have obviously been worse hit than others.

As well as the above, more than 66% of AMRC charities are having to defer upcoming grant rounds and/or withdraw planned future funding.


THE AMRC has called on the Government to back a Life Sciences-Charity Partnership Fund which would commit to a fund matching scheme for charitable research over the next three years.

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Progress towards new treatments and therapies as a result of charity-funded research will drastically impact the lives of people with all kinds of health conditions. Research is a long-term process so sustained investment is really important to achieve life-changing benefits. The majority of charity-funded research happens in universities and hospitals across the UK. It allows people to gain access to experimental treatments and therapies when they have run out of other options. For some, it is the last resort for extending or improving their quality of life.

We hope to see a decision made in the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Many of our members are already making tough decisions, and if we don’t see a tailored and targeted support package in the review, they will be forced to make further cuts to vital research

Cat Ball - Head of Policy, AMRC

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Sun Aug 16 2020

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