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Medical Research Council (UK)

 The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a UK organisation dedicated to "promot[ing] the balanced development of medical and related biological research in the UK".



The MRC is one of seven Research Councils and is answerable to, although politically independent from, the Office of Science and Innovation, which - in turn - is part of the Department of Trade and Industry.

It is governed by a council of 14 members, which convenes every two months. Daily management is in the hands of the Chief Executive. Members of the council also chair specialist boards on specific areas of research. For specific subjects, the council convenes committees.

The MRC funds research centres, three main institutes (in Cambridge, Mill Hill and Hammersmith) and 35 smaller units nationwide. Overseas facilities are located in Gambia and Uganda.


The MRC started as the Medical Research Committee in 1913, its prime role being the distribution of medical research funds under the terms of the 1911 National Insurance Act. This was a consequence of the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Tuberculosis, which recommended the creation of a permanent medical research body. The mandate was not limited to tuberculosis, however.

In 1920, it became the Medical Research Council under Royal Charter. A supplementary Charter was formally approved by the Queen on 17 July 2003.

Landmark research

Important early work carried out under MRC auspices was:

In all, scientists associated with the MRC have received 22 Nobel Prizes in both Medicine or Physiology and Chemistry.


As Chief Executive Officers (originally secretaries) served:

  • 1914-33: Sir Walter Morley Fletcher
  • 1933-49: Sir Edward Mellanby
  • 1949-68: Sir Harold Himsworth
  • 1968-77: Sir John Gray
  • 1977-87: Sir James Gowans
  • 1987-96: Sir Dai Rees
  • 1996-2003: Professor Sir George Radda
  • 2003-2007: Professor Colin Blakemore
  • 2007-: Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

Institutes, Centres and Units


  • Health Services Research Collaboration (HSRC)



  • Human Genetics Unit
  • Human Reproductive Sciences Unit
  • Centre for Inflammation Research (with the University of Edinburgh)
  • Centre for Stem Cell Research (with the University of Edinburgh)


  • MRC Toxicology Unit (University of Leicester)


  • MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, King's College London
  • MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King's College London
  • MRC Centre for Medical Law and Ethics, King's College London
  • MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, King's College London
  • MRC Centre for Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, King's College London
  • MRC Centre for Transplantation, King's College London
  • MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC)
  • MRC National Survey of Health & Development: the 1946 cohort longitudinal study, originally of health and child development and, more recently, of ageing.
  • MRC Cell Biology Unit, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London

Mill Hill

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medical_Research_Council_(UK)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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