Parliamentary Question: Plans for ME research

Mike Weatherley, Conservative MP for Hove, tabled a written question which asked the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of recent medical advances in the treatment of myalgic encephalomyelitis; what plans he has for the funding of research in that field over the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review; and if he will make a statement.

The question was answered yesterday (1 February 2011) by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, who wrote:

The Medical Research Council (MRC) 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 support medical and clinical research. The MRC’s budget for the period of the comprehensive spending review has been set such that their resource expenditure can be maintained in real terms.

The MRC supports research into CFS/ME, and welcomes high-quality investigator-led research applications in this area.

In addition to the normal funding mechanism, the MRC has just confirmed a commitment of up to £1.5 million to support research into the causes of CFS/ME. This aims to promote new and innovative partnerships between researchers already working in the CFS/ME field and those in associated areas, such as pain and fatigue.

The call will focus on six priority areas which have been identified by the research community and further details will be published by the MRC as they become available. The selection of projects for MRC research funding, submitted through the usual route and to the call, will be determined through peer review.

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