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Attributing the costs of health & social care Research & Development (AcoRD)

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Department and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) announce the publication of new guidelines for attributing the costs…

The Department and the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) announce the publication of new guidelines for attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD).

AcoRD establishes a mechanism for the Department to meet some of the costs of charity-funded research in the NHS, for charities that are members of AMRC. The agreement recognises the unique contribution medical research charities make to excellent research in the NHS - of the over 3,000 clinical studies conducted in the NHS in 2009-10, 37 per cent were funded by AMRC member charities and charities spend more than £1bn on research each year.

Health research is a core NHS activity and the Health and Social Care Act (2012) puts research at the heart of the NHS for everyone. Public funders - the government, through the National Institute of Health Research (the research arm of the Department of Health) and Research Councils - and medical research charities working together with the private sector, make the NHS one of the world’s leading organisations for hosting clinical and applied health research. Through the AcoRD guidance the Department of Health has recognised that charities are a special case because their funds come from donations by patients and the public.

The AcoRD guidance clarifies the distinction between the three categories of costs associated with non-commercial research studies:

  • Research Costs
  • NHS Support Costs
  • Treatment Costs.

Annex A provides an exemplar set of common activities that have been attributed to the three specific cost categories and Annex B provides a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These Annexes will be updated on a regular basis and users need to ensure that they refer to the latest version when attributing the costs of research.

The AcoRD guidance supersedes earlier guidance contained in Attributing Revenue Costs of non-commercial research in the NHS (ARCO) and must be used to attribute the costs of research taking place in the NHS where the outline or full grant funding application is submitted to funders from 1 October 2012. The AcoRD guidance should not be applied retrospectively to studies contracted prior to 1 October 2013 where the full application for funding was submitted before 1 October 2012.

Sharmila Nebhrajani, chief executive of AMRC, said:

‘We polled nearly 1,000 adults last year; 92 per cent told us they believe it’s important for the NHS to support research funded by charities. We welcome the helpful approach of the Department of Health in developing AcoRD which does just that. This Department of Health support will maximise the investment of charity funds in NHS research so that the money goes directly towards funding research that leads to better health outcomes for patients.’

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said:

‘Today’s announcement recognises the vital contribution that charities like Cancer Research UK make towards funding medical research in the UK. As a charity we fund the majority of NHS cancer trials - research that is driving forward huge progress and saving lives from cancer. This vital work wouldn’t be possible without the huge generosity of our supporters and, by working in partnership with the Department of Health, we can ensure we continue to make the best possible use of their donations.’

Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health, said:

‘Clarifying the principles for attributing the costs of research will help medical research charities continue to make a major contribution to improving health outcomes.’

Read Attributing the costs of health & social care research and Development (AcoRD) and accompanying documents

The document should be read in conjunction with Guidance on funding excess treatment costs related to non-commercial research studies and applying for a subvention.