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Medical Research

Volume 652: debated on Thursday 1 February 1962

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science if he is satisfied that adequate funds are being made available to carry out medical research, in view of the appeals which are continually being made by various societies for gifts from the public to expedite medical research; and if he will make a statement.

The Medical Research Council encourages and sponsors medical research in every field. It does not, and in the opinion of the Government should not, have a monopoly in deciding which research projects should receive financial support; nor does it have any powers to prevent research which it does not regard as worthy of support being pursued.Professional opinions on what is promising or worthwhile differ from time to time, and the existence of both private and public funds, whether the former be provided from donations made in response to appeals by voluntary societies or not, is a safeguard against possible solutions in any particular field of medical research being neglected.It is right, therefore, that medical research should be undertaken and financed by the Exchequer in university departments and the teaching hospitals, and within the National Health Service, as well as by the Medical Research Council. The Government also welcomes support for medical research by organisations financed by voluntary contributions and other private sources.But the Medical Research Council is responsible for seeing that no line of medical research, which it considers to be scientifically worthy, suffers from lack of financial support. Their expenditure has more than trebled over the last ten years. My noble Friend is satisfied that no really promising lead for medical research by first class research workers is rejected by the Medical Research Council solely for lack of available funds.