The biomedical research system is failing to address global need-8/10universities in the U.S. and Canada spend less than 2% of their research dollars on treatments and prevention for neglected diseases, which affect nearly 2 billion people around the world. Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) is launching an innovation fund to help us train new researchers to tackle these diseases and increase the open-access publication of biomedical research.
Today, 80% of universities in the U.S. and a 13/15 of the top research universities in Canada spend only 2% of their research budget on the world's most neglected health needs-which affect nearly 2 billion people around the world. The causes of this gap are numerous, but include a lack of incentives for private investment in these disease states, a lack of government funding, and a lack of opportunity for young researchers to get involved in projects working on these diseases.
The UAEM Innovation fund will provide support to student researchers, sponsoring summer research projects and training, to build the bench of researchers focused on neglected diseases and critical health needs, like antimicrobial resistance. The fund will also sponsor open-access publication so that researchers anywhere in the world can replicate the results of students at critical industry-leading universities.
By creating a new line of researchers who specialize and focus on neglected health needs, future generations of physicians, biomedical researchers, chemists, and others will be better equipped to address neglected diseases and funnel that research into alternative research and development models designed to ensure access to the final product. The Innovation Fund may help drive researchers to think outside the box with applications of biomedical research technology.