PUBLISHED ON: 18 June 2021

The pandemic has had a huge impact on breast cancer research. This has included disruption to clinical trials during the first wave of the pandemic, labs not working to full capacity owing to social distancing and cuts to research funding.

close up of gloved hands isolating a sample

Why are medical research charities important?

Since the first UK-wide lockdown, our fantastic supporters have stood with us, donating generously and raising vital funds any way they could. But like so many other charities, our fundraising income has been significantly reduced by the pandemic. This increased uncertainty to fundraising revenue has led many charities to make cuts to research. Although we have tried to minimise this, we had to cut our funding by 37%.  

Medical research charities play a vital role in funding research to benefit patients. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Breast Cancer Now has over the years invested £243 million in breast cancer research to benefit people at risk or affected by breast cancer.

Medical research charities also invest in and upskill the next generation of researchers. They are key contributors to the UK’s leading role in life sciences research.  

#ResearchAtRisk

To protect our research and help support the recovery of research beyond the pandemic, we have been backing the Association of Medical Research Charities’ (AMRC) #ResearchAtRisk campaign.

Alongside the AMRC, our amazing campaigners and others, have helped raise awareness of the importance of charity funded medical research – with over 7000 people writing to the Prime Minister asking for financial support to help medical research charities continue to invest in research.

Last month, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced £20 million to support charity funded early career researchers.

Funding of early career research is important in helping upskill and advance the next generation of scientists and giving them the opportunity to work on vital breast cancer research. Supporting new scientists early in their career could also help with future scientific breakthroughs. So, if you supported the AMRC’s #ResearchAtRisk campaign, thank you. You are helping to make the Government and BEIS aware of the need to support medical research charities.

What’s next?

Although it has been encouraging to see funding to help charities to continue to upskill the next generation of researchers, further action is needed to help medical research charities to continue to invest in vital research, helping them recover from the impact of the pandemic.

We will be continuing to work with the AMRC and others to continue to influence for the funding that medical research charities urgently need to recover from the pandemic.

You can read our full response to BEIS’ announcement online.

 

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