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Cancer Research UK cuts fundings grants amid pandemic uncertainty

As of this morning – Tuesday April 7 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 51,608 with 5,373 deaths.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) will cut funding to its existing grants and institutes by up to 10% and its national network of Centres by around 20%, driven by a loss in fundraising income as researchers focus efforts on COVID-19.
In an open letter to the researcher community, the charity’s Iain Foulkes, Professor Karen Vousden, and Professor Charles Swanton said the cuts equate to £44 million.
They note that “universities have closed, laboratories have wound down their activities, experiments have stopped,” and that “most of our clinical academics, including our Clinical Research Fellows, have been called to the frontline in hospitals all over the country”.
They also stress that, around the country, “CRUK institutes and laboratories are repurposing their resources to help the COVID-19 response”..
Further explaining the move, Foulkes, who is executive director of research and innovation at the charity, said: “COVID-19 has left the whole world in uncharted waters. And the unprecedented measures to control the global COVID-19 pandemic have had a huge impact on both our researchers’ ability to carry on in the lab, and on our ability to fundraise. Faced with a predicted loss of 20-25% of fundraising income, we are forced to look for savings across our current portfolio.”
“Cancer Research UK funds nearly 50% of the cancer research in the UK and making cuts to research funding is the most difficult decision we have had to make. We don’t do so lightly. We have worked hard to ensure the cuts are limited and give our researchers flexibility in how to make them. Ultimately, it is our research that delivers benefit to people affected by cancer, and this remains our first priority. We are hopeful that limiting our spending now will enable us to continue funding life-saving research in the long run.
“Cancer doesn’t go away during or after COVID-19, but we’re incredibly proud of our community of researchers who have been very quick to respond to the crisis, using their kit, skills and talent to support the NHS and the COVID-19 response.
“Our mission is so important to people all over the UK and by helping the global effort of tackling COVID-19, we hope we can get back to beating cancer as soon as possible.”
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