Systematic analysis of funding awarded for mycology research to institutions in the UK, 1997-2010

Michael G Head, Joseph R Fitchett, Rifat Atun, Robin C May
BMJ Open 2014 January 9, 4 (1): e004129

OBJECTIVES: Fungal infections cause significant global morbidity and mortality. We have previously described the UK investments in global infectious disease research, and here our objective is to describe the investments awarded to UK institutions for mycology research and outline potential funding gaps in the UK portfolio.

DESIGN: Systematic analysis.

SETTING: UK institutions carrying out infectious disease research.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome is the amount of funding and number of studies related to mycology research. Secondary outcomes are describing the investments made to specific fungal pathogens and diseases, and also the type of science along the R&D value chain.

METHODS: We systematically searched databases and websites for information on research studies from public and philanthropic funding institutions awarded between 1997 and 2010, and highlighted the mycology-related projects.

RESULTS: Of 6165 funded studies, we identified 171 studies related to mycology (total investment £48.4 million, 1.9% of all infection research, with mean annual funding £3.5 million). Studies related to global health represented 5.1% of this funding (£2.4 million, compared with 35.6% of all infectious diseases). Leading funders were the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (£14.8 million, 30.5%) and Wellcome Trust (£12.0 million, 24.7%). Preclinical studies received £42.2 million (87.3%), with clinical trials, intervention studies and implementation research in total receiving £6.2 million (12.7%). By institution, University of Aberdeen received most funding (£16.9 million, 35%). Studies investigating antifungal resistance received £1.5 million (3.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: There is little translation of preclinical research into clinical trials or implementation research in spite of substantial disease burden globally, and there are few UK institutions that carry out significant quantities of mycology research of any type. In the context of global health and the burden of disease in low-income countries, more investment is required for mycology research.

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