In 1988–89 over £1.4 billion is being provided from public funds for the support of basic and strategic research through the research councils and block grants to United Kingdom universities. Responsibility for determining scientific priorities rests with the research councils and the universities.
My right hon. Friend intends to make a considered statement later this year on the Government's policy objectives for the science base and the steps we will be taking to achieve them, taking account of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils' discussion document "A Strategy for the Science Base" and of comments on that received from the higher education and scientific communities.
The Medical Research Council, which receives an annual grant-in-aid (currently £147 million), has the responsibility for determining priorities for medical research funded from the science budget. Its views on priorities in the short, medium and long terms are included in its annual reports and corporate plan, copies of which are in the Library.
§ Mr. Wray
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he last discussed the state of clinical-medical research and its priorities with representatives of(a) the British Medical Association, (b) the Medical Research Council, (c) the medical academic staff committee and (d) representatives of universities of England and Wales.
I met representatives of the British Medical Association, including the chairman of the medical academic staff committee, on 26 January when we discussed various matters concerning education and research in university medical schools.
I attended a meeting of the Medical Research Council on 5 February. My right hon. Friend and I will be meeting representatives of the council again on 4 July to hear more about the research they are currently funding.289W
My right hon. Friend and I have had several meetings with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of United Kingdom universities during the last year. Matters indirectly concerning medical research have been referred to on a number of occasions.
§ Mr. Wray
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to how many clinical-medical research projects, in progress or started in 1975, and financed either with public or private funds, or with both, in teaching hospitals were(a) completed, (b) extended, (c) suspended or totally abandoned for lack of staff or funds and (d) how many of those totally or partially funded with public money had to be extended, completed or extended with the help of private funding.
§ Mr. Wray
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been, for each year since 1975, the number of medical and other staff working full or part time on clinical and medical research projects in teaching hospitals in(a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) England and (d) Wales.
§ Mr. Wray
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what has been, for each year since 1975, the amount of public funding given for clinical-medical research in the teaching hospitals of(a) London, (b) Birmingham, (c) Bristol, (d) Liverpool, (e) Manchester, (f) Cardiff, (g) Edinburgh and (h) Glasgow;
(2) what information he has as to how many clinical-medical research projects funded with (a) public, (b) private or (c) public and private funds have been carried out for each year since 1975 on (i) cancer, (ii) heart diseases, (iii) nutritional diseases, (iv) mental illnesses, (v) alcoholism, (vi) skin diseases, (vii) myalgic encephalomyelitis, (viii) liver diseases, (ix) kidney diseases, (x) anaemia, (xi) sexually transmitted diseases, (xii) AIDS, (xiii) anti-viral drugs and vaccines, (xiv) cot deaths, (xv) gene therapy, (xvi) application of molecular and cell biology in the study of human diseases, (xvii) drug addiction and behavioural diseases, (xviii) diarrhoea, (xix) diabetes, (xx) blindness and eye diseases and (xxi) other disease; where in the United Kingdom they are or were carried out; who is or was the researcher in charge and how many medical and other staff are or were involved; what is or was the total funding; and how many of these research projects have been (a) completed, (b) expanded or (c) suspended or totally abandoned due to lack of funds or staff.
The Medical Research Council is the main agency through which the Government fund medical research in the United Kingdom. Current and previous editions of the MRC's handbook and annual reports—copies of which are in the Library—list the various research projects which the council has supported in each year since 1975 and include tables of the MRC's expenditure in university medical schools. Compiling the other information on the thousands of MRC projects concerned would be disproportionately costly.
Comparable lists of research projects funded—in whole or part—from universities' general funds, by the National Health Service, or by charities and other private sources are not available centrally.