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Dwindling support for academic research

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has revealed that collaborative research projects with UK universities could be under threat.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has revealed that collaborative research projects with UK universities could be under threat.

A survey of 11 major UK-based pharma companies showed that the amount of funding being given to university research bodies has decreased since 2003. The amount of PhD studentships has gone down by 14 per cent and the number of post-doctoral grants fell by 25 per cent.

Dr Philip Wright, ABPI director of science and technology, said: "There is a worrying decline in the level of activity."

"There have been real benefits from these collaborations for both academia and industry, with a two-way flow of skills and knowledge. It has been a 'win-win' situation that has been one of the UK's historical strengths, and Britain can ill afford to have it damaged," he added.

Escalating costs, increasingly difficult contract negotiation processes and intellectual property ownership issues are some of the reasons that the ABPI believes are behind the decline in academic research activity.

Dr Richard Barker, director-general of the ABPI, said: "With increasing competition for biomedical leadership from Asian economies, it is vital that government and industry unite to restore confidence and maximise the UK's chances in the global race for pharmaceutical innovation."

29th April 2008

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