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Medical Research Council

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the 10 largest research projects being undertaken on behalf of the Medical Research Council; what is their cost; and what agencies or individuals are conducting the projects.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what proportion of the total budget of the Medical Research Council is used in connection with the use of alternatives to experiments on living animals; and whether she will publish details of the cost, type of disease and place of research of each such project;(2) whether it is planned that the Medical Research Council will be allocating annually an increased proportion of its total budget to alternatives to experimentation on living animals.

The Medical Research Council makes no specific allocation for research on alternative techniques because it considers that they can be developed by scientists only in the course of research on their own problems. They offer such clear advantage that, with the Council's strong encouragement, they are used increasingly widely in the research which it supports but to identify and cost all the relevant projects would require a disproportionate expenditure of time and effort.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the Medical Research Council's projected budget over the next five years.

The planning guidelines for the Medical Research Council, which are reviewed and pushed forward each year, provide on the basis of the 1977 public expenditure White Paper—Cmnd. 6721—for its allocation from the science budget to increase by 1·6 per cent. per annum up to 1981–82. In addition, the council will continue to receive payments for research commissions but it is too early to give precise figures.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the current research budget for the Medical Research Council.

The Supply Estimates 1978–79 provided for grants in aid to the Medical Research Council totalling £44,289,000 including £1,533,000 subscriptions to certain international organisations. A further £13,707,000 is expected to be received in payment for commissioned research.