London, UK: The first survey to analyse the way that cancer research is funded across Europe has revealed some startling findings that have major implications for cancer patients and for European cancer research policy, it was announced today (Wednesday 30 March).
Described as a "clarion call to the European Commission", the European Cancer Research Funding Survey identified 139 non-commercial sources of funding in the whole of Europe (including accession, associate and applicant States and the European Free Trade Area) and found that:
- European Member States spend seven times less per person than the USA a funding gap far wider than previously thought;
- there is insufficient funding for preventative and clinical research, while funding for basic scientific research is proportionately much higher;
- Europe is weak in its overall support of cancer research, both centrally and at the Member State level;
- more than half of European cancer research is funded by the charitable sector;
- opportunities exist for greater collaboration and co-operation between funders across Europe and between different research areas.
Dr Richard Sullivan, chair of the European Cancer Research Managers Forum that conducted the survey, told a news conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in London: "The EU is massively behind the USA in its support of non-commercial cancer research. This gap is a substantial threat to the ability of the EU to translate cancer research into patient benefit. Also threatened is the ability to recruit and retain clinicians and scientists to work in cancer research, as well as the commercial attractiveness of the EU. It would appear that the problem lies both with a lack of central EU funding and with inequality between Member States, with many failing to support cancer researchers adequately in their own countries.
"In the short term, Europe needs to double the amount it spends on cancer research."
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Contact: Emma Mason
European Cancer Research Managers Forum
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