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£775m funding for NHS research

The UK's Department of Health has announced £775m of funding over five years for scientific research to benefit NHS services

The UK's Department of Health (DH) has announced £775m of funding over five years for translational research - scientific research with specific beneficial outcomes for healthcare practice.

The money is part of a £4bn investment into research and development in the UK up to March 2015.

The fund will be made available from April 2012 to NHS and university partnerships through the National Institute for Health Research – the UK government body that coordinates research for the NHS.

The organisation had previously recommended changes to the way medical research is regulated and governed in the UK, including the recommendation of a new Health Research Agency.

Projects encouraged to apply for the funding  include research into 'high priority disease areas' such as dementia, cancer and heart disease. Previous programmes to make use of translational research funding in the UK including the development of a blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, and using stem cell technology to cure blindness caused by age-related macular degeneration.

In a statement, the DH described the funding as part the coalition government's 'commitment to modernise the NHS to give patients the best care possible'. The economic benefits of the funding were also mentioned, with extra money for research allowing opportunities for jobs and growth, according to the DH.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented on the announcement: "A strong science and research base is crucial to help secure sustainable economic growth, helping to rebalance the economy and create the jobs of the future, which is why despite tough spending decisions we have protected its funding.

"We have some of the best scientists and facilities in the world and today's announcement will help ensure we continue to be at the cutting edge of life sciences."

The government's comprehensive spending review in October 2010 announced a frozen £4.6bn annual budget for scientific research – a 10 per cent cut in real terms with the effects of inflation.

7th March 2011

From: Healthcare

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