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About us

What we do

We exist to advance medical research, improve human health and change people’s lives. You can help us do it.

Our vision

The Medical Research Foundation’s vision is to advance medical research, improve human health and change people’s lives.

The health and wellbeing of millions of people depends upon continual medical advances. And this challenge needs immense support, innovation and persistence. We understand we need to be bold and ambitious – to fund projects that are not just going to be useful now, but which may become useful later. Our vision is to support these advances for decades to come – the biggest impacts come from long term commitment to research.

Medical research has helped to tackle many diseases and conditions that affect human health. But there will always be more to do.

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Our purpose

Medical research has helped to tackle many diseases and conditions that affect human health. But there will always be more to do. The government and health charities are spending lots of money developing exciting new treatments and therapies, but there are also areas of medical need that receive little or no support. That’s where we step in.

Funding research is our sole purpose. We are inspired by the responsibility and independence that your donations give us. We have access to some of the best global medical research expertise and this helps us to support bold and ambitious scientific studies.

All of our activities are focused on research: we do not provide advice or support, and nor do we undertake campaigning.

Our mission

We fund and support the most promising health research wherever we discover great opportunities that do not currently have funding.

We use our donations responsibly and ensure we make the greatest impact where it is most needed.

We meet the highest research standards through our unique connection with the Medical Research Council (MRC).

We are free to fund whatever we feel are the most important medical research questions of the time. Unlike many other funding bodies we are not restricted to providing support for a particular disease or condition, or a particular research institution. We can respond to the emerging health needs of the nation and the wider world, and the research priorities and opportunities identified by scientific experts and our donors. All of our activities are focused on research: we do not provide advice or support, and nor do we undertake campaigning.

We decide how to fund applications by seeking scientific advice through the MRC’s research boards and training panels. The MRC’s scientific experts help us to find suitable experts in the field to either review applications or sit on our review panels.

These services are provided free of charge and this reduces our overhead costs and increases the efficiency of our processes while allowing us to access the best possible advice.

 
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£50 million

We are aiming to invest £50 million in life-changing medical research between 2019-2029.

Our research priorities

We identify research priorities according to gaps in understanding, or specific donor priorities.

These priorities change regularly – unlike many funders of research we are flexible and can adapt to the most pressing needs as they arise.

We are aiming to invest £50 million in new research between 2019-2029.

This means that, from 2019-2024, we are committing £25 million towards ground-breaking research - in the following areas:

Adolescent and early adulthood mental health, particularly self-harm and eating disorders.
We will continue our investment in adolescent mental health, building upon current research and identifying where there is still unmet need.

Pain.
A huge number of people live for long periods with unrelenting pain, yet this is an area of low research investment.

Child and adolescent health, including skin disorders and eye diseases.
Skin diseases can be painful, disfiguring and impact on mental health during the adolescent period. This is an area where increased research could lead to a big impact. Investment in eye diseases research has led to huge steps forward, however research into eye diseases in children has not advanced at the same pace.

The impact of climate change on health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that climate change will have a huge impact on health, causing approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050. This is an area that needs research investment now.

Health research capacity building in Africa.
We will support African scientists to develop the experience and skills needed to shape and lead original, ground-breaking research.


Our funding decisions are advised by experts in the field, who peer review applications and sit on our peer review and interview panels. We are continuing our investment in our research priorities from the previous quinquennium, which included antimicrobial resistance research and viral and autoimmune hepatitis.

We fund research that both fits with our stated research priorities and falls within our four strategic research themes. These are:

Increasing understanding: support for the discovery science that increases understanding of the processes underpinning all human health and disease.

High need, low research investment: support for research on the conditions and diseases that devastate lives where there is unmet need for new research but a low research investment.

Emerging research leaders: providing opportunities for emerging research leaders who will address the biomedical research questions of the future by supporting their cutting-edge research today.

Changing policy and practice: support to disseminate research results beyond the scientific press to people who are able to influence healthcare policy and practice as well as personal life-choices.

Research Strategy

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is a membership organisation of the leading medical and health research charities in the UK. As a member, we follow its guidelines for best practice on peer review and support its position statements on supporting research in universities and the use of animals in research.

Support us

Help change lives

We fund and support the most promising health research wherever we discover great opportunities that are not being pursued. We use our donations responsibly and ensure we make the greatest impact where it is most needed.

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