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Medical research – just what's it worth exactly?

Public bodies, lobby groups and medical research charities have all benefited from important work to assess just how much impact health research has on society.

Brunel’s Health Economics Research Group (HERG) has developed the payback framework technique over recent years – giving research –funding groups the chance to show policymakers and the public exactly what their investments have achieved.

HERG’s 2008 report, ‘Medical Research: What’s it Worth’, has had a massive impact on policy and public spending. It has often been cited as a vital factor in convincing the Government to raise the health research budget in 2010 and to protect the science budget in its 2010 and 2013 Spending Reviews.

Elsewhere, a number of major medical research funding organisations, including Cancer Research UK, used the 2008 report as key evidence in their own response to the Spending Review.

Charities including Asthma UK and the National Breast Cancer Foundation in Australia have funded HERG to lead independent and methodological evaluations of the impacts of their research funding, helping to significantly raise the profile of the latter and give it the encouragement to substantially boost its investment in research.

Meanwhile, extensive dissemination has helped to publicise the full range of the group’s impact studies, including publications and presentations in Canada, the EU, Ireland and the UK.