UK University Ranking Reveals Global Health Neglect

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The United Kingdom’s top medical research universities spend just two per cent of their health research budgets on work related to health in developing countries, according to a study launched last week.

The UK University Global Health Research League Table is the first public index to assess and rank the UK’s top 25 universities — in terms of public funding for medical research — according to how much they spend on global health and neglected diseases as a proportion of their total medical research funding.

The data behind the table show how little goes on neglected diseases: the average spend is just 1.7 per cent of the total budget for academic medical research.

Funding is also skewed towards a handful of universities, according to the table, which was launched last week (21 January). Three-quarters of all UK research funding on neglected diseases is spent by five universities: the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Liverpool, the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and King’s College London.

These five institutions spend between ten and 68 per cent of their medical research budgets on neglected diseases, with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine topping the rankings. But outside the top five, the numbers drop dramatically: 17 of the 25 universities assessed spend less than four per cent of their medical research funding on neglected diseases.

The project is a collaboration between Medsin-UK, a student global health network, and the UK branch of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), an international student-led NGO calling for global health research and intellectual property reform at universities.

Source: Science and Development Network (link opens in a new window)

Education, Health Care