The British government's plan to combine the research budgets of the primary funding agency of basic biomedical research and the state-run health service -- the Medical Research Council (MRC) and National Health Service (NHS), respectively -- has been largely welcomed this week by the country's scientific establishment. But strong differences of opinion remain about how the funds should be administered.On Wednesday (August 2), the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences published a joint report supporting the plan, which was first announced in March by Chancellor Gordon Brown. The combined fund will reach at least £1 billion a year and be jointly held by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health. In recent months, a review chaired by David Cooksey, a former governor of the Wellcome Trust, has been examining how the single fund would be implemented. In their submission to that review, the Royal...

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