§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what contract research his Department is placing with the Medical Research Council during the current year; at what cost; and what plans he has to place future research work with the council.
§ Sir George Young
The Department commissions research on the Medical Research Council in two ways:
- 1. Jointly with the other health departments, under arrangements introduced following the White Paper "Framework for Government Research and Development" (Cmnd. 5046), we inform the council of our needs and priorities for biomedical research and the council frames its programme of research with these in mind. Work covered ranges widely across the field of the council's activities and this Department's support in this financial year is estimated to be £14,209,000. As my right hon. Friend said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Belper, (Mrs. Faith) on 28 October—[Vol. 991, c. 266–8]—following a review of these arrangements a new system will operate from 1 April 1981, under which the MRC will continue to meet the needs and priorities of the Health Departments in its programme of biomedical research.
- 2. Under separate arrangements, this Department supports from its research funds health services research managed by the council. In some cases the Department and the MRC jointly fund a Unit—for example, for the studies of addiction, the elderly, the mentally sub-normal, the homeless, the problems of people who have suffered strokes, the maintenance of a register of children suffering from phenylketonuria. Funding is also provided for specific projects to be undertaken by the MRC—for example, the evaluation of new services at a mental hospital, the facilitation of word retrieval in aphasia. The estimate for such funding in this financial year is £457,000. The Department will continue to ask the council to undertake health services research where the council has or could provide the facilities to undertake such work.