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Call for additional support for Covid-hit research charities

Image: Barry Barnes, via Shutterstock

President of Academy of Medical Sciences hopes government package will be ‘precursor’ to charity support

The Academy of Medical Sciences has welcomed government measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on research but says more must be done to protect charities.

In a statement on 29 June, AMS president Robert Lechler said the package would provide “hugely welcome relief to a sector that has been gravely impacted by Covid-19”.

“The measures will help provide much-needed certainty to individuals and universities, protecting jobs and ensuring that life-saving medical research can continue.”

However, he added: “I hope they will be a precursor to additional support for the charities, which have been hit by enormous drops in fundraising income that will restrict their ability to fund research for years to come.”

Announced on 27 June by business secretary Alok Sharma, the package includes loans to make up for the unexpected loss of a cross-subsidy from international students, plus £280 million to support research in UK universities.

Lechler’s comments come after the Association of Medical Research Charities predicted a £310m shortfall in funding over the next year.

Together with its charity members, the group is calling on the government to commit to a Life Sciences Partnership Fund, a co-investment scheme that provides a level of match funding for future charity research over the next three years.