EHS-COVID (43) Impact of COVID-19 on health research

14 November, 2020

Global health is fundamentally dependent on the availability and use of reliable healthcare information, which in turn is dependent on health research. This new commentary in The Lancet points to the negative impact of COVID-19 on funding for health research, much of which is funded by charities. 'A survey of more than 500 charity-funded early career researchers in the UK found that four in ten are considering leaving research due to funding concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.' Citation, extracts and a comment from me below.

CITATION: More support needed for UK charity-funded medical research

Charmaine Griffiths, Michelle Mitchell, Aisling Burnand

Published: November 12, 2020 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32397-7

The integral role of medical research charities in UK research and development is under threat from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic... From March, 2020, fundraising events across the country were cancelled and charity shops closed for long periods due to lockdowns, contributing to huge income loss. Charity-funded medical research has not benefited from the UK Government's £750 million charity support package,10 which was aimed at organisations that provide front-line services for patients, rather than research. Nonetheless, many medical research charities have used their expertise to provide evidence-based patient information during the pandemic...

In October, 2020, the Institute for Public Policy Research projected there could be a shortfall of up to £7·8 billion in UK research and development spending between now and 2027 as a result of the pandemic... We also risk losing a generation of scientists because they are unable to secure funding for their research. A survey of more than 500 charity-funded early career researchers in the UK found that four in ten are considering leaving research due to funding concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Meanwhile there are reports of disruption of research across all areas of health, including and especially research in low- and middle-income countries. I invite HIFA members to share your experience and observations.

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org