Today we learned of a simplification to the immigration process for senior researchers from overseas. Here Linda Holliday, Deputy Human Resources Director at the MRC, reflects on the announcement, and the importance that information from those working at the coalface of recruitment has in bringing about changes to immigration policy.
The UK has an excellent track record in science and research. Despite growing international competition, the UK research base is second in the world for excellence and we are the most productive country for research in the G8 group of nations. When it comes to individual disciplines, the UK tends to come first or second in the rankings.
Our scientific workforce is a vibrant and diverse group of people. We know that the collaborations that UK researchers establish with their international counterparts is of a high quality and we rely on the UK’s immigration system to help us bring people to the UK for short periods to continue these collaborations, as well as attracting and retaining the best international talent for longer-term positions. Read more
Libby Ford and her mother
Today the 1000th study using data from the ALSPAC, or Children of the 90s, cohort study has been published in the European Journal of Human Genetics. It’s just one of the many findings to have come out of the study, which has analysed the health and development of 14,000 children since the early 1990s. But what’s it like to grow up as a member of the cohort? Here Libby Ford, whose mother enrolled in ALSPAC when she was pregnant, tells us how it feels to know she’s contributing to medical research.
Growing up it felt perfectly normal to participate in Children of the 90s, as most of the children in my small village primary school did too. But as I grew up I realised that this wasn’t just a part of your average childhood, but actually something special which contributed to valuable research. I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of it.
I still participate in the annual research sessions and questionnaires, and I even opt to take part in further research sessions where I can. I’ve always liked going to the sessions; the staff always made them feel fun, and now I also understand they have a lasting importance. Read more
There was a time when the paths of academic and industry researchers rarely crossed. But developing treatments for patients requires a much closer relationship between the two sectors than ever before. Here Chris Watkins, the MRC’s Director of Translational Research and Industry, explains why the MRC is working with companies to accelerate research into the development of treatments.
It’s getting much harder to discover new treatments for disease. Biology is complex, and much of the low-hanging fruit of drug discovery have already been picked. We need to understand more about the biology of human disease if we are to develop new effective and safe treatments. We also need to understand the complexity of disease, trying to work out which patients might respond well to particular drugs, and why some do not.
Companies are the only entities which have the extensive and varied capabilities necessary to make drugs. It is a long, expensive and difficult task, with a low probability of success. However, by bringing together the strengths of academic researchers — who investigate the underlying biology of diseases — with the drug development, testing and production know-how of pharmaceutical companies, we hope to accelerate the discovery of safer, more effective medicines. Read more