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Medical Research Council: Projects

Volume 715: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of projects supported by the Medical Research Council received a one-year extension of funding prior to the publication of data arising from such projects, in each year since 1999. [HL473]

Requests for extensions to research projects proposing significant changes to the original research plan or substantially new work and which would incur additional costs would usually require a new application to be submitted to the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC sometimes grants extensions to the duration of research grants, at no additional cost to the MRC, to allow the completion of the planned research. Over 500 such awards have been granted since 2004-05. The purpose of these time-only extensions is to allow the research investigators to fulfil the objectives of the original grant award. Such awards involve no significant changes to the research plans and are therefore not subject to additional peer review.

Data for the period 2004-05 to 2008-09 is provided below, information on projects which were extended using a similar mechanisms before 2004-05 is not available in a similar form.

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Total Number of MRC Grants*

777

891

1,009

1,084

1,137

Period of extension

Up to 6 months

51

85

67

147

107

7 months to 1 year

3

9

14

15

28

Over 1 year

1

1

2

4

Total number of time-only extensions granted

55

94

82

164

139

* as at 1 April.

Research papers and data relating to MRC-funded research would normally be published towards the end of a period of grant funding or following the completion of the work. Requests for time-only extensions can be submitted at any time throughout the duration of the grant in line with the circumstances of the particular study. Consequently data relating to a particular study may not necessarily have been published at the time the request to extend the duration of the grant is made.