The World Cup, soccer’s equivalent of the Olympics, opened play on Friday in South Africa. The U.S. team’s first match comes Saturday against one of the premier names in international soccer: England.
In honor of the World Cup kickoff, we thought we’d turn the spotlight across the pond to the U.K.’s Medical Research Council. The MRC traces its roots to the National Insurance Act of 1911; a provision of that act took one penny per year from every working person to treat and study tuberculosis.
From there, the MRC grew into a research institute before becoming a corporation with its own Royal Charter. In 1918, the MRC declared that its decisions on the directions of its research would be independent of the U.K. government.
Per the MRC’s Royal Charter, the organization’s mission is to “encourage and support research to improve human health; produce skilled researchers; advance and disseminate knowledge and technology to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the UK; [and] promote dialogue with the public about medical research.”
In 2008-09, the MRC spent 704 million pounds on research; 225 million pounds of that supported more than 400 grants to researchers and scientists. In 1999, MRC formed an affiliated company, MRC Technology, that helps bridge the gap between discovery and delivery to patients.