5853 - Medicine: Research (Answered)

Stephen McPartland
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the benefits of supporting medical research and development to the (a) UK science sector, (b) NHS and (c) economy.

George Freeman

In 2014 the HEFCE supported Research Excellence Framework conducted the largest ever assessment of academic research impact. A selection of just 10 of the 1600 impact case studies submitted to the clinical sciences REF panel were found to contribute roughly £2 billion in economic benefit between 2008 and 2012.

Work to systematically collect details of the output from all research council funded work has established a national database of more than 1 million reports of achievements linked to more than £40 billion of public and charity funded research projects, which is proving to be a comprehensive approach to describe the benefits of supporting not only medical research but research across all disciplines. More than 100 research organisations are now subscribing to this approach including the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and Cancer Research UK.

Recent academic studies in to the returns to medical research estimated the returns to the UK economy from cardiovascular research at 39% and returns from cancer research at 40%. There is ongoing further research to refine these estimates.

Finally, the UK is one of world’s strongest performers in Health and Medical Science research and is ranked 1st in field weighted citation index for Health & Medical science research of comparator nations. In 2012, the UK accounted for 8.9% of all Health and Medical Science publications (2nd out of comparator nations) and for 16% of the top 1% most highly cited research (2nd out of comparator nations).