It comes on top of huge budget reductions already taken
Cancer Research UK has announced further dramatic cuts, slashing £45 million from its research budget.
This is around half of what is normally expected to be spent at this time, and it means dozens of potential life-saving projects and hundreds of scientists have been left unfunded.
This blow is on top of the £44 million cut made to current grants at the start of the pandemic, and the charity not being able to fund any new clinical trials this year.
The new cuts have led to 24 fewer research programmes, 68 fewer projects and 12 fewer fellowships, and Cancer Research UK says there will be around 328 fewer researchers working on their research.
The charity says that a shrinking research portfolio will not only slow down future breakthroughs for people with cancer but could seriously reduce the chances of reaching the charity’s goal of three in four surviving their cancer by 2034.
Cancer Research UK has had to make reductions in its ‘response mode funding’ which makes up around a third of their research.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Covid-19 has slowed down our efforts to beat cancer. The closures of our charity shops and the cancellation of our fundraising events across the country means we have less money available for life-saving research, but we will never stop.
“We still have great ambition, are still the largest charitable funder of cancer research in the world, and will continue to fund the very best scientists in the UK and across the globe. We have always relied on the generous donations of all our supporters, but we need them now more than ever so we can continue to achieve these ambitions and so that together, we can still beat cancer.”
Due to the drop income from the pandemic, around 100 fewer grants will be funded. These span longer-term multi-million-pound research programmes, specific research projects, and fellowships that support scientists at all career stages, from the promising future stars to some of the world-leading researchers at the top of their game.
Dealing with the challenge of the drop in fundraising, the charity said it will have to continue looking at ongoing reductions in other parts of the research budget.
Dr Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said: “As a charity, we fund around half of the UK’s publicly funded cancer research. Medical research charities like Cancer Research UK are the life blood of research and development in the UK, and we have all felt the devastating blow of the pandemic on our income.
“The recent Government spending review was a step in the right direction for cancer services in the UK, but we need urgent clarification to what measures are being put in place to support medical research charities through the Life Sciences Charity Partnership Fund. As a country that relies so heavily on charity-funded research, the UK risks weakening its reputation as a world-leader in science if charities don’t receive the right support.”