UK-EU research partnerships benefit patients across Europe

A report commissioned by eight leading UK medical organisations highlights how partnerships between UK and EU medical researchers have increased the value of research, benefiting patients across Europe. 

Graffiti of ECG reading on a wall
The UK’s contribution to research throughout the EU has fostered and strengthened scientific cooperation.
Credit: Rosmarie Voegtli/Flickr

This new research shows how the UK’s contribution to research throughout the EU has fostered and strengthened scientific cooperation in the following areas.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials have benefited from UK and EU researchers working together, especially for rarer diseases where the UK has the highest number of trials. 

As the number of patients with rarer conditions in each country is low, it’s only possible to recruit enough patients for clinical trials by carrying out trials across countries.


The leadership role played by UK researchers in Europe is reflected through their extensive membership of scientific committees and panels.  

UK researchers account for 17% of the scientific advisory boards membership at Germany’s Max Planck Institutes, the highest proportion from one country.

And between 2008 and 2016, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency acted as scientific advice coordinator in at least a fifth of centralised European Medicines Agency approvals.

Treatments and devices

Experts from across Europe were interviewed for this report. Many highlighted the UK’s ability to conduct translational research to discover treatments and devices that can benefit patients across Europe. 

This has included:

  • developing a new generation of genetically targeted personalised medicines 
  • interventions for wellbeing and mental health. 

Scientific training

The report also highlights the UK’s role as a trainer of scientists:

  • about 16,000 students from EU countries are enrolled on biomedical courses at UK higher education institutes
  • about 20% of EU nationals trained in the UK take up positions in other European countries.

The study's funders

This study was co-funded by:

  • Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Arthritis Research UK
  • Association of Medical Research Charities
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Medical Research Council
  • MQ: Transforming Mental Health
  • Wellcome.

More information

Read a summary of The Impact of Collaboration: the value of UK medical research to EU science and health [PDF 395KB]

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