Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Association of Medical Research Charities

  I have looked at our data on cancer charities and other research charities for England and Wales. The data referred to below does not include cancer charities based in Northern Ireland or Scotland that are not registered with the Charity Commission but does include the expenditure on research in Northern Ireland and Scotland of the charities registered with the Charity Commission. Although we hope to be able to analyse by nation the research expenditure for AMRC members, this information is not yet available.

  In my opinion, the £180 million per annum figure provided by the Department of Health is a significant underestimate. I would estimate that the overall figure for charitable expenditure on cancer research in the UK by English and Welsh charities is closer to £230-£250 million per annum. Scotland and Northern Ireland (recognised) charities would probably add a further £2-3 million. There remain a number of other types of charitable body for which data is not readily available. In making my estimate I took into account:


  We have identified 250 cancer research charities. These are charities registered with the Charity Commission whose objects enable them to fund research and who appear to be active either in fundraising or giving grants. The total expenditure for this group of charities is £250 million. We do not have details of the actual research expenditure for all of these charities but for those we do (130) the research expenditure is £200.3 million.


  In addition to the cancer and leukaemia specific registered charities, there are a number of other types of charities that support cancer research, including:

    —  Other medical research charities such as system specific charities covering lung disease, digestive disorders, brain, eye etc fund cancer and cancer-related projects from time to time. There are also general medical research charities (eg Wellcome Trust, Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, Action Research, Children Nationwide) that support cancer related research projects. However, we do not have disease related research expenditure data for these charities.

    —  Unregistered charities such as the Institute of Cancer Research and other university and departmental research funds. We believe their resources available for research are quite considerable but it is fairly difficult to identify how "charitable" funds are spent (as distinct from the grant income they receive).

    —  We found 43 NHS charitable funds that administer earmarked cancer research funds within their remit. The total expenditure of this group of 43 charities is around £137 million per annum but we have not been able to find out how much is spent on cancer research. However, cancer research funds are the most common restricted or earmarked funds within these charities. The MRC also administers some cancer charitable funds which may be included in MRC's accounts. (ICRF and CRC (now Cancer Research UK) administer a number of earmarked funds but these are reported in the charities overall expenditure figures.)

    —  42 registered charities that are not termed research charities but have cancer research within their charitable objects. Their total expenditure is around £60 million but we do not know how much of this is directed to cancer research but we know that they are occasional medical research funders.

    —  A number of registered "academic" or "professional" charitable funds also have earmarked cancer funds or funds for oncology or related specialists within. We have not been able to identify how much they actually spend on research. This group includes organisations such as medical Royal Colleges, The Royal Society, professional societies and university general charitable funds.

    —  Overseas charities that support UK based cancer research. UK universities receive funds from a wide range of overseas charitable organisations some of which is spent on cancer related research (sometimes in partnership with a UK charity). However, published university accounts are not detailed enough for us to be able to determine the levels of charitable funding in any particular field.

    —  Charities on the Charity Commission database that have cancer research in their objects or name but for whom no activity or expenditure information can be found.

  It is worth noting that the majority of cancer research charities have some restrictions to their beneficiary areas, most commonly in the type of cancer research they are able to support but very often the funding is limited in terms of the potential beneficiaries or researchers. Occasionally the funds are restricted for a single researcher although a limit to a particular research team, department or unit is more common. There are also a large number of small charities in this field: of the 250 charities on our database, 120 of them spend less than £100,000 per annum and 76 of these spend less than £20,000.

Diana Garnham

Chief Executive

28 February 2002

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