Parliamentary Questions: Research into ME, 18 January 2011

Two MPs tabled separate questions about ME research and received almost identical replies from the Minister concerned on Tuesday, 18 January 2010.

Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, asked if the Secretary of State for Health would commission research into the biomedical causes of myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Chris White, Conservative ME for Warwick and Leamington, asked the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support research on myalgic encephalomyelitis, and if would make a statement.

Apart from telling Ms MCarthy that he had been asked to reply by the Health Secretary, Minister for State for Universities and Science David Willetts told both MPs:

The Medical Research Council is an independent body which receives its grant-in-aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The MRC is one of the main agencies through which the Government supports medical and clinical research. In keeping with the Haldane principle, prioritisation of an individual Research Council’s spending within its allocation is not a decision for Ministers.

The MRC supports research into all aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) , and welcomes high-quality research applications in this area. The MRC does not normally commission research but supports high-quality investigator led proposals submitted in open competition, the selection of projects for funding is determined through peer review.

An Expert Group on CFS/ME established by the MRC has worked with experts in the field of CFS/ME and research leaders in aligned areas to identify and prioritise research topics where the MRC might target efforts to encourage and support high-quality proposals. The MRC is now preparing to take forward these recommendations.

Further information on research supported by the MRC and about the work of the group, including the recommendations for research topics and priorities can be found at:

http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Ourresearch/ResearchInitiatives/CFSME/index.htm

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