MRC support for prevention research
The National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI) was a strategic initiative led by the MRC and bringing together 16 funding partners (government departments, research councils and major medical charities). Over the past 10 years (2005/06 to 2015/16), awards made under the NPRI provided a commitment of ~£34 million for four funding calls (see Figure 10, upper panel) which have supported 74 research projects of variable size and duration.
As identified by the Health Research Classification System (HRCS) prevention criteria, the MRC has supported an additional 232 new prevention awards alongside the NPRI over the same period (see Figure 10, lower panel). The total commitment for these awards was £199 million over this period, with an average of £19.7m new commitment per annum and an average in-year expenditure of £28.3m per annum.
Assessment of HRCS health categories of NPRI awards (Figure 11, left panel) showed a relatively even support for Cancer, Cardiovascular, Stroke, Oral and Gastrointestinal, Metabolic and Endocrine and Mental Health – that reflects the focus of the initiative on research to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease alongside efforts of risk reduction/health behaviour associated with smoking, alcohol and diet/physical activity. Conversely, the other MRC awards (Figure 11, right panel) are primarily focused on preventing infections (44 per cent) and research relevant to all diseases (Generic, 11 per cent), with the remaining 45 per cent of funding spread across the 19 other health categories.