America rules the world in biomedical research because it is not reliant on taxpayer funding. Despite claims that basic science is only done at universities, the private sector in the US goes out of its way to avoid government involvement of its pure research. In Europe, the research system is heavily weighted toward taxpayer-financing and biomedical research does well compared to the relatively small funds available - but to do better would require a more American approach. This is one of the main conclusions from a new White Paper, published by the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) – the European Science Foundation's membership organisation for all medical research councils in Europe.
A European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) White Paper, entitled 'A Stronger Biomedical Research for a Better European Future', was presented at a meeting held in Strasbourg today and followed a previous White Paper, "Present Status and Future Strategy for Medical Research In Europe" published four years ago.
Calling for global collaboration and cohesion in biomedical research, the White Paper analyses the current state of biomedical research within Europe compared with its international collaborators, together with an assessment of new challenges faced in Europe, including changing patterns of diseases, ageing populations and growing cost of healthcare.
Professor Liselotte Højgaard, Chair of the European Medical Research Councils said, "We believe that this White Paper presents a powerful case for the future strategy of biomedical research in Europe, which will benefit society in many ways and will improve the quality of life for the citizens of Europe and the rest of the world and meet the difficult challenges we are facing".
The White Paper makes five key recommendations which should underlie future policy and strategy for biomedical research in Europe:
- Citizens and patients should be closely engaged with biomedical research
- The results of biomedical research should be rapidly and efficiently brought to the patient
- Biomedical research should be conducted with high quality in an open, honest and transparent way
- European biomedical research should be conducted within a global context
- Investment should be increased to create the right world-class biomedical research
Author, Dr. Thierry Damerval, Deputy Director of Inserm (France), said: "With investment in biomedical research yielding a return of 40% per year, adequate funding and best practice for biomedical research are not only essential to secure health and welfare in Europe and the rest of the world, but they also makes sound economic sense".
Source: European Science Foundation