This report, funded by eight leading UK medical research funders and charities, identifies the principle ways in which UK health research contributes to medical progress, highlighting the benefit that the UK has delivered for EU science.

The results recorded in the publication showcase the strength and breadth of UK-based medical research, and ultimately how this has improved the health of patients and the public across the EU. The evidence shows that the UK has made key contributions in five areas:

  1. Contributions to advisory bodies, networks and policies that underpin research across the EU and its member states.
  2. Participation in pan-EU clinical trials, providing notable leadership for rare disease and paediatric clinical trials.
  3. Co-ordination and hosting of some of Europe’s unique large-scale infrastructures for medical research.
  4. Development of new therapies and medical technologies that benefit EU patients, backed by a thriving pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector.
  5. Training early career researchers from across the EU, to develop their skills and launch their research careers.

Summary:

  • The UK is an important partner in the EU research landscape, contributing to almost 20% of the total research work carried out within EU health programmes between 2007 and 2016.
  • Medical papers that have been co-authored by UK and EU researchers receive more citations than the average UK-only or EU-only paper.
  • The Mean Normalised Citation Score (MNCS), assesses the quality and number of citations by publication type. The EU26 already achieves a MNCS score of 1.37 without the UK, while UK papers score 1.60 (where 1 is the world average). The MNCS score of co-authored UK + EU26 publications is 1.98, or twice the world average.
  • Similarly, the proportion of top 10% highly-cited publications increases from 15% to 23% for the EU26 when collaborating with the UK.
  • Around 25% of the world’s top 100 prescription medicines were discovered and developed in the UK.

The eight research funders and charities involved were The Academy of Medical Sciences, Arthritis Research UK, the Association of Medical Research Charities, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, MQ: Transforming Mental Health and Wellcome