Our successes

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.

Figure 10– Number of awards made, commitment and expenditure for NPRI (upper panel) and other MRC prevention awards (lower panel) made by decision year, with NPRI calls highlighted


Figure 10– Number of awards made, commitment and expenditure for NPRI (upper panel) and other MRC prevention awards (lower panel) made by decision year, with NPRI calls highlighted

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.

Figure 11 – Proportion of commitment by HRCS health categories for both NPRI (left panel) and other MRC prevention awards (right panel)

Figure 11 – Proportion of commitment by HRCS health categories for both NPRI (left panel) and other MRC prevention awards (right panel)