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We are co-funding Marie Curie’s call to address gaps in palliative and end of life care research

The terminal illness charity is looking for applications that address its key research priorities identified by carers, health and social care professionals and people with terminal illness, and particularly, those areas that have until now received the least attention

In-keeping with The Charity’s focus on working in partnership, Marie Curie’s annual funding pot of £1 million has been bolstered by contributions from The Brain Tumour Charity (£300,000), the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association (£200,000) and the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office (£69,000), generating a total fund of over £1.5 million.

The call for applications coincides with an analysis of the current research landscape conducted by Marie Curie in which a database of all health-related research active in the UK in 2014 was interrogated and mapped against the charity’s key research priorities.

The analysis has revealed those areas which currently receive little or no funding which include out of hours care, support for carers, ensuring consistency of care for patients, and bereavement, which were all underfunded. Bereavement was the only area not to have received any direct grant funding at all in 2014.

Sabine Best, Head of Research at Marie Curie, said, “Palliative and end of life care is of ever growing importance as people live longer and develop more complex needs but despite this, it remains an underfunded area of research.

“It has therefore been incredibly valuable for us to identify those research priorities that have been most neglected and we hope that this exercise will help inspire the passion and creativity of researchers across the country.

“For Marie Curie, funding research that will improve people’s lives is a fundamental priority and we’re delighted that those organisations joining our funding call share this commitment – their contributions will broaden the scope of our research and ultimately result in better care for more people living with a terminal illness.”

From our own experience as a charity and as detailed in our 2015 report, Losing Myself: The Reality of Life with a Brain Tumour, we understand the shocking gap in end of life care options.

We found that 55% of people who have a terminal diagnosis of a brain tumour haven’t been given a choice of end of life options. This is simply not good enough.

Collaborating in this call for research being undertaken by Marie Curie is a vital step forward in improving the palliative and end of life care for everyone affected by any terminal illness.

The Research Grants Scheme, an open and competitive call to researchers which is now in its eighth year, has to-date funded over 40 individual projects across UK.

Applications are welcome from scientists, clinicians or healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and research institutions.