Association between the burden of disease and research funding by the Medical Research Council of Canada and the National Institutes of Health. A cross-sectional study

Clin Invest Med. 2001 Apr;24(2):83-9.


Background: The Medical Research Council of Canada (MRCC) is the major Canadian agency responsible for funding biomedical health research in this country. Disease-specific funding by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been studied and is not independent of burden-of-disease parameters. We tested the association between disease-specific MRCC funding, disease-specific NIH funding and various burden-of-disease parameters.

Method: Information on 1994/99 MRCC funding was obtained from the MRCC database for 29 diseases. NIH funding and burden-of-disease counterparts for the year 1996 were gleaned from a recent publication. The association between data series was measured by correlation coefficients.

Results: Disease-specific incidence, mortality and years-of-life lost did not correlate significantly with 1994/99 disease-specific MRCC funding but prevalence (r = 0.54, p = 0.005) and disability-adjusted life-years did (r = 0.48, p = 0.009). A correlation coefficient of 0.50 (p = 0.006) was calculated between 1996 NIH funding and 1996/97 MRCC funding. Two disease categories, cirrhosis and alcohol abuse, received a greater percentage of funds from the NIH than from the MRCC. Two other disease categories, epilepsy and perinatal disease, received a greater percentage of funds from the MRCC than from the NIH.

Conclusions: Disease-specific MRCC grants in the past 5 years correlated with 2 of the usual burden-of-disease parameters: disability-adjusted life-years and disease prevalence. A statistically-significant correlation was observed between disease-specific grants awarded by the MRCC and the NIH.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Financing, Government* / statistics & numerical data
  • Government Agencies
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Research Support as Topic* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States