University of Dundee

Celebrate 100 years of medical breakthroughs funded by you

24 Jun 2013

Nearly half (44 per cent) of people in Scotland don’t know their taxes fund medical research, according to a new YouGov survey run by the UK’s oldest research council, the Medical Research Council (MRC). The results of the on-line survey of 2,190 UK adults were announced today on the official one hundredth birthday of the MRC, which boasts 29 Nobel Prize winners and a host of medical breakthroughs, all funded by the public purse.

To celebrate 100 years of life-saving science, MRC research centres across Scotland are opening their doors - inviting the public in or bringing their science out to local communities to showcase the fruits of their labour. A range of different events, talks, experiments and exhibitions will be held today and over the next two weeks to tell the hidden story of health improvements funded by the Scottish taxpayer through the MRC and to introduce the remarkable scientists who make it all happen.

Scottish people are the most likely to know how big a contribution they’ve made to improving our health through their taxes, compared with other areas across the UK.  56 per cent of people know they’re taxes fund medical research in Scotland compared with the lowest UK figure in the East Midlands of only 41 per cent. Only a quarter of people in Scotland say they’ve met a medical research scientist, despite the fact that life changing science often happens right on their doorstep. When asked which disease or condition they would study if they were a medical research scientist, people in Scotland gave a full spectrum of issues close to their heart, with cancer and dementia being the most common.

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said, “It’s important for people to know how crucial their own money has been in uncovering health improvements that have saved millions of lives. If I asked the person on the street, ‘did you know you’ve helpedinventthe MRI scanner and DNA fingerprinting,or helped make skin grafts work or proved the link between smoking and cancer?’ … he’d probably look blankly at me. And these discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg of what the taxpayer has funded- through the MRC - over the course of its history.On the MRC’s100 year birthday today, I’d like everyone to celebrate their own contribution to making the UK a world leader in medical research. Long may MRC-funded research continue to have such an impact on the health and wealth of the UK and beyond.”

Here are just a few of the events taking place in Scotland over the MRC centenary celebrations:


Events in Dundee

21 June -“I Am Breathing” documentary to be screened at Dundee Contemporary Arts followed by a short presentation and question and answer session on motor neurone disease. A collaboration between Dundee Contemporary Arts and the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee.

24 June- “Understanding cancer” morning session at MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundeewith talks by three researchers, a Q and A session, and a tour of the research facilities hosted by Professor John Rouse, Dr Vicky Cowling and Dr Ian Ganley.

26 June – MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. “Parkinson’s disease”, organised in collaboration with Parkinson’s UK. An opportunity for patients and families to hear about the exciting research being undertaken in Dundee followed by a tour of the research facilities.


Detailed information about the range of events happening in locations across the UK is available at