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Public and private research spending linked

A study has found higher levels of government and charity spending on scientific research appears to stimulate high levels of private investment

A study conducted by the Office of Health Economics has found that higher levels of government and charity spending on scientific research appear to stimulate high levels of private investment.

With the announcement that dementia figures worldwide are set to double every 20 years (with Europe looking to a 40 per cent increase in dementia cases), the findings of the study support the view that research into what causes, for example, Alzheimer's disease, encourages, rather than crowds out, investment from pharma and other private sectors.

Simon Denegri, chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities said: "This absorbing study highlights the potential merit of research charities, public funders and private R&D organisations working more closely together. Charities and their public and private sector colleagues should talk early and often to identify those areas of science where their respective funding has the potential to drive forward research of patient benefit."

The economists at the Office of Health Economics policy think tank examined scores of papers. One US study analysed in the report suggests a $1 investment in basic research leads to $8.38 of private investment over eight years. 

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, which funded the study, said: "Dementia costs the UK economy £17bn a year, but for every pound spent on dementia care, a fraction of a penny is spent on research. Much more research is needed if we are to offer hope to the 700,000 people in the UK who live with Alzheimer's and other dementias."

21st September 2009

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