Select Committee on Science and Technology Third Report

2  The scope of the Review

8. The scope of the Review was much broader than the original terms of reference. It went beyond proposing new arrangements for the Single Fund to making wider recommendations. For example, Sir David put forward proposals regarding setting the UK's healthcare treatment priorities as well as outlining a number of tasks for OSI to address. He also recommended that OSI should analyse all public and charity funding streams applicable to the translation of health research to identify any gaps. In evidence to us, Sir David accepted that he had gone beyond the original remit but argued that the terms of reference:

"did ask me to connect our public expenditure on health research with the health of the research community on the one hand, with the delivery of economic healthcare on another, and with the economic impact in an industry as well".[5]

We believe that Sir David was right to exceed his remit and we welcome the broad-ranging nature of the Review. However, we feel that it would have been appropriate to advertise the changes in the terms of reference to attract a broader range of opinions.

9. On the other hand, in some areas, the Review had a distinctly more narrow focus than it might have had. It considered chiefly pharmaceuticals, rather than any wider definition of 'medicine'. Evidence to the Committee from the Royal Academy of Engineering for example, argued that the Review should have been more comprehensive and should have given to other sectors associated with health interventions (such as medical technologies and engineering, preventive medicine, social care and public health research) the same analysis bestowed upon the pharmaceutical industry. [6] Whilst the pharmaceutical sector is clearly of great importance to the UK's health research output, the Committee is concerned that allied health research sectors such as medical engineering and technology, preventive and public health research should not be overlooked. The DTI and DH must ensure that these sectors are represented within both OSCHR and TMFB.

5   Q 2 Back

6   Ev 23, 26, 37, 41 Back

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