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Life Sciences and Medicine: Finance

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 73873, tabled on 12 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure equitable distribution of funds between the (a) National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research and (b) broader life science and medical-related research sectors.

Answered on

22 November 2021

The National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) receives its core funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and since it was launched in 2004, it has committed £100 million through its research, innovation, and early career awards to provide new 3Rs approaches for scientists in academia and industry to use. This funding builds on wider funding by UKRI on development of alternative approaches to the use of animals. UKRI welcomes applications for research into any aspect of human health and is committed to funding excellence.

Between 2015-2019 UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council spent over £7 million on research grants aimed at developing and applying innovative methodologies to studying human and animal physiology, including in silico approaches, organ-on-a-chip, organoid and other advanced cell culture systems. Additionally, UKRI’s Medical Research Council launched a new Precision Medicine Accelerator to take ideas from discovery science into research using humans, focused on early clinical application. The Experimental Medicine Panel has an annual budget of £10 million.

The recent Spending Review set the total amount of funding available for the next three years. Internal business planning is underway to allocate specific funding for life sciences and broader medical R&D which will be announced soon. As part of this process £95 million of new funding has recently been announced which will support the development and use of the most promising new drugs and technologies, as part of the Government’s commitment to the NHS and making the UK a Science and Technology Superpower.