Defining the Complementarity of Medical Research Across Sectors in the UK

With funding from an MRC grant[1], the OHE is collaborating with the King’s Policy Institute and RAND Europe on research that, for the first time, will estimate in monetary terms the complementary effect of spending on medical research in the UK by the pharmaceutical industry, charities and the public sector.

The charity, private and public sectors each play an important role in medical research in the UK. The pharmaceutical industry builds on knowledge developed by the public and charity sectors, translating research findings into products that can advance medical practice, preventing or treating illness. To date, however, the extent and characteristics of this process are poorly understood. The analyses that do exist have been done primarily in the US, with data that now are old. It is not clear how well these apply to the UK given differences in the two countries.

The current study will develop a methodology for estimating the magnitude of research spillover in the UK—specifically, how many additional pounds of pharmaceutical industry R&D spending are stimulated by an additional pound of medical research funded by the public or charity sector. It will improve the econometric approach that has been used in US studies and will create a current dataset of public and charity research spending in the UK by major therapeutic area. Work under this grant also will explore whether more private pharmaceutical R&D investment measurably stimulates more charity or public sector spending on medical research in similar therapeutic areas.

Research under the grant is expected to be complete in mid 2015. The investigators on the grant are: Jon Sussex, Yan Feng and Jorge Mestre-Ferrandiz from OHE; Jonathan Grant from the King’s Policy Institute, King’s College London; and Marco Hafner from RAND Europe.

For additional information, please contact Jon Sussex.

OHE’s interest in knowledge spillover and research synergies is long standing. For example, OHE collaborated with RAND Europe in sponsoring a forum to discuss key aspects of spillovers and identify the top priorities for policy research that could help bring spillover effects more explicitly into UK policy decisions. Participants were drawn from senior levels of industry, venture capital, research charities, academia and the public sector. The research being performed under the current grant was identified at the forum as one of two top priorities. For our earlier blog post on this forum, please click here. 

[1] Better measurement of the complementarity between UK public, charity and private medical research. MRC Methodology Research Programme, ref: MR/L010801/1  


Posted in Drug Development/R&D, Innovation | Tagged Grants