27 May 2021

Responding to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)’s announcement of funding for early career researcher supported by charities.

Dr Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Investment from the government into medical research charities is urgently needed to enable them to continue to support the next generation of scientists; however the funding announced today falls far short of what’s needed by the sector due to the pandemic, making it a bitter pill to swallow for British science. With the COVID-19 pandemic having put the UK’s position as global leaders driving excellence in life sciences, including breast cancer research, in jeopardy, further investment is needed. 

“Medical research charities form a vital part of the British science ecosystem, making possible new discoveries and treatments for those who desperately need them. Breast Cancer Now has invested around £243 million in breast cancer research to date thanks to the generosity of our supporters. But despite the public’s continued support, our fundraising income was significantly reduced due to the impacts of the pandemic, forcing us to cut our research spend by 37%. With medical research charities having less funding for research, there is a real risk of a financial void in British science that could have a devastating long-term impact on patients.

“We are grateful that the government has committed to some investment today, to help support charity funded early career researchers, but much more is needed. We are urgently calling for further funding to help charities like Breast Cancer Now continue vital medical research as they recover from the impact of the pandemic. Until this happens, patients could be denied the medical breakthroughs they so badly hope for.”