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Health watchdogs and authorities

Medical Research Council (MRC)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a publicly funded organisation dedicated to improving human health.

It supports research across all medical sciences in universities and hospitals, as well as its own units, centres and institutes in the UK and units in Africa.

The MRC works closely with the NHS and the UK health departments, and gives a high priority to research likely to make a real difference to clinical practice and the health of the population.

Since its foundation in 1913, pioneering achievements for human health have included the development of penicillin as a drug, the discovery of the structure of DNA, and the development of MRI scanning.

For more information, see the Medical Research Council website.

The MRC's mission

The MRC aims to:

  • encourage and support research to improve human health
  • produce skilled researchers
  • advance and spread knowledge and technology to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the UK
  • promote dialogue with the public about medical research

For more detailed information on the MRC's mission, read the MRC Charter (PDF, 21kb) or visit the MRC website. You can also find information about the MRC's research successes, such as increasing dementia diagnosis and preventing bowel cancer.

Page last reviewed: 29/09/2015

Next review due: 29/09/2017

Clinical trials and medical research

Clinical trials explained, including how to take part in one and why medical research is important

Taking part in a clinical trial: Sheila’s story

When Sheila was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, her GP suggested she join a clinical trial for a new breast cancer drug. Sheila explains her decision process, how the trial was explained to her, and any doubts or safety concerns she had.

Media last reviewed: 03/05/2016

Next review due: 03/05/2018