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The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a UKmarker organisation dedicated to "improving human health through world-class medical research". It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains an environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and has provided the financial support and scientific expertise behind a number of medical breakthroughs, such as the development of penicillin, the structure of DNA and the link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.


The MRC is one of seven Research Councils and is answerable to, although politically independent from, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) since 6 June 2009 - previously Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) . In the past, the MRC has been answerable to the Office of Science and Innovation, part of the Department of Trade and Industry).

It is governed by a council of 14 members, which convenes every two months. Its Council, which directs and oversees corporate policy and science strategy, ensures that the MRC is effectively managed, and makes policy and spending decisions. Council members are drawn from industry, academia, government and the NHS. Members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. 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 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 29 Nobel Prizes in both Medicine or Physiology and Chemistry.


As Chief Executive Officers (originally secretaries) served:

Institutes, Centres and Units

The MRC has 28 units and three institutes in the UK, and two units in The Gambia and Uganda. It also has 22 centres offering partnerships with UK universities to develop centres of scientific excellence. Three 'lifelong health' research centres were announced in 2008, funded by the MRC, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme.

  • MRC/University of Birmingham Centre for Immune Regulation

  • MRC/University of Sussex Centre in Genome Damage and Stability

  • MRC/University of Bristol Centre for Synaptic Plasticity
  • MRC Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology

  • MRC Centre Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics

  • MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
  • MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biologymarker (LMB)
  • MRC Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research (formerly known as Dunn Human Nutrition Unitmarker)
  • MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
  • MRC Centre for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
  • MRC Centre for Protein Engineering
  • MRC Centre for Obesity and Related Metabolic Diseases
  • MRC Centre for Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (BCNI)
  • MRC Cancer Cell Unit
  • MRC Epidemiology Unit
  • MRC Biostatistics Unit

  • MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit

  • MRC/University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research
  • MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • MRC Human Reproductive Sciences Unit
  • MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
  • MRC Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology

  • MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS

  • MRC (UK) The Gambia

  • MRC Institute of Hearing Research(Glasgow University)
  • MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgowmarker
  • MRC Virology Unit

  • MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit


  • MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science

  • The Crucible Centre
  • MRC/University College Londonmarker Centre for Medical Molecular Virology
  • MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, home of the National Survey of Health & Development
  • MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre
  • MRC Prion Unit
  • MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) including the MRC Biomedical NMR Centre
  • MRC International Nutrition Group
  • MRC General Practice Research Framework (GPRF)
  • MRC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)
  • MRC Clincial Sciences Centre (CSC)
  • MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health
  • MRC Centre for Transplantation
  • MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling
  • MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases
  • MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research
  • MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at King's College Londonmarker
  • MRC Cell Biology Unit
  • MRC Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma

  • Centre for Brain Ageing and Vitality

  • MRC Institute of Hearing Research (Nottingham)

  • Radiation Oncology and Biology Initiative
  • MRC/Cancer Research UK/BHF Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU)
  • MRC Human Immunology Unit
  • MRC Functional Genomics Unit
  • MRC Centre for Genomics and Global Health
  • MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit
  • MRC Molecular Haematology Unit

  • MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics

  • MRC Institute of Hearing Research (Southampton)
  • MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre

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