The main agency through which the Government fund medical research is the Medical Research Council, which receives a grant-in-aid from this Department. The council's grant for 1989–90 is £176 million, an increase of 17 per cent. over its grant for672W 1988–89 of £150 million. The council itself determines the allocation of the funds at its disposal. The council is always willing to consider soundly-based proposals for new research programmes in competition with other proposals.