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Diabetes UK calls for more funding for diabetes research

Leading UK charity Diabetes UK is calling for urgent investment in diabetes research after a ‘very worrying’ study revealed European presence in diabetes research has fallen by 25 per cent since 2002.


In their paper – European diabetes research and its funding, 2002-2013 – published in Diabetic Medicine on 18 September, the study team found that European diabetes research publications had fallen from 44 percent of world total in 2002 to just 33 percent in 2015.

Identified in the study as the leading charitable organisation investing in diabetes research across Europe, Diabetes UK said it was time to show the same commitment to tackling diabetes – through research funding – as had been shown for serious health conditions.

Responding to the study, Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said:

“The findings of this study highlight the lack of investment in diabetes research; diabetes is the fastest growing health problem of our time, and has the potential to be the most devastating. As a nation, we need to show the same commitment to tackling diabetes through research as we have done, successfully, with other serious health conditions. 

“Spending on diabetes research trails behind other serious conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, but the diabetes crisis is not going away. With 4.5 million people living with the condition in the UK alone, and nearly 12 million at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it’s time for the scientific community, government and industry to work together to drive innovation and excellence in diabetes research, in the UK and in Europe.”

Professor Richard Holt, Professor in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Southampton and Editor-in-Chief of Diabetic Medicine, said:

“To match the need for diabetes research, governments and institutions need to encourage and facilitate the mobility of researchers and cross-country funding streams. Diabetes is a world-wide crisis and so diabetes research is increasingly becoming an international endeavour. We all need to work together to bring about change.”

Diabetes UK would like to see diabetes research receiving the same level of funding as other major health conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The current UK spend on cancer research is estimated to be around £500 million a year, cardiovascular disease research receives approximately £165 million a year, while diabetes research funding is at £60 million a year*.

The charity has this year set up strategic diabetes Clinical Studies Groups to ensure diabetes research in the UK happens at pace. The groups are designed to identify gaps in diabetes research and develop innovative ideas around prevention, treatment and management of diabetes. They bring together scientists, people living with diabetes and healthcare professionals. 

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