Dec 10, 2002
A cash boost to help keep Britain at the forefront of research on stem cells, genomics and proteomics was announced by the department of trade and industry on Monday.
It said that over the next three years it would give 40 million for research into stem cells and 136 million to the genomics and proteomics research programme to develop new drugs and diagnostic techniques. The two research fields are among a number of "top priority" programmes being funded by the department that pays research councils to do the work.
The UK recently became the first country to approve research into the use of human embryonic stem cells that are believed to have the potential to repair or replace damaged tissue and organs.
The Medical Research Council announced earlier this year it was setting up a 2.6 million stem cell bank to supply cell lines for research.
The department said the new stem cell funding would be used to generate new insights into fundamental stem cell biology and developmental processes, while more applied research would work towards new treatments for major diseases and disabilities.
It added that the potential applications of the genomics and proteomics programme were enormous. "Increased capability in proteomics forms a key part of the next phase of the long term Research Council strategy to translate post-genomic knowledge into UK health and wealth."
Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said in a statement that the allocations were "excellent news not only for UK science but also for business."
Science Minister Lord Sainsbury noted that the rate of growth of the
science budget would accelerate from an average of 7% to 10% in real terms.
By 2005-06 the science budget would be just short of 3 billion -- more
than double the figure in 1997-1998.
© 2002 Reuters Ltd