Epilepsy Research UK has been awarded a grant to support research delayed by COVID-19 for some of our early career, next generation researchers. This funding is thanks to tireless campaigning by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), of which Epilepsy Research UK is a proud member.

Since COVID-19 started, medical research charities have lost over £292 million in income, forcing cuts to research spend of approximately £270 million across the sector. AMRC have been working tirelessly to collect and share evidence, issue reactive statements, and calling on Government to provide financial support to medical research charities.

Last week, it was announced the Medical Research Charities COVID Support Fund for Early-Career Researchers will support 80 AMRC charities and provide funding for 450 researchers for one year.  The fund, administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), comprises £15 million from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and £5 million from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

This funding will help support vital research projects being carried out by the next generation of epilepsy researchers. Projects like this year’s Emerging Leader Fellowship led by Dr Gareth Morris, which is creating an exciting new control mechanism for gene therapy in epilepsy, or Dr Charlotte Tye’s Epilepsy Research UK & Autistica Fellowship which will identify predictors of autism in infants with epilepsy.

Nicola Perrin, Chief Executive of AMRC said:

“This funding for 80 of our members is a very welcome early Christmas present. It will make a big difference to our charities, their research teams, and the patients who benefit from their work. We’re extremely grateful that the Government has recognised the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on medical research charities and those they support.”

“We would also like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this happen: our wonderful charities and their communities, the parliamentarians, the teams at BEIS, DHSC and UKRI, and many more! Your support has made this fund a reality.”

Maxine Smeaton, Chief Executive of Epilepsy Research UK said:

“We would like to thank the AMRC for their leadership and determination in securing this much-needed grant for their members, including Epilepsy Research UK. The funds will ensure our current research projects stay on track and enable us to continue supporting our next generation researchers to deliver the results the epilepsy community deserves.”

The AMRC are now asking Government to consider continuing the COVID Support Fund scheme for another three years, as part of the Spending Review allocations.

You can read more about the AMRC’s campaign efforts in response to COVID-19 here.