The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) programme funds medical researchers and clinicians to test how promising new approaches to disease prevention and treatment might work in practice. EME is a partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the main funders of basic medical and applied clinical research in the United Kingdom. 

To understand the programme’s impact, what worked well and where improvements might be needed, the MRC and NIHR commissioned Technopolis Group to carry out an independent evaluation of the first 10 years of the EME programme. 

The evaluation built an evidence base using a mixed-methods approach. It found that the programme provides an important bridge between discovery and effectiveness research, funding mainly Phase 2 clinical trials which demonstrate whether an approach can work in principle. The programme also addresses a key funding gap with most EME projects looking at existing treatment options that can benefit new patient groups or save costs in the health service. EME-funded research has started to achieve scientific and health outcomes, including efficiency gains in the health service: Results of seven of the 43 completed EME projects had informed healthcare and policy decisions. Based on the evidence gathered, Technopolis developed recommendations to further enhance the EME programme’s impact.

The study’s findings were presented in a peer-reviewed publication [Rentel M C, Simpson K, Davé A et al. Efficacy Mech Eval 2021;8(20)]. It includes a foreword from the NIHR Chief Executive; the MRC Clinical Director; the MRC Executive Chair; and the Director of Science, Research and Evidence of the UK Department of Health and Social Care, who “thank the authors for their excellent work in producing this report” and conclude with: “This independent review and the recommendations herein will no doubt help to guide the EME programme’s activities in future, building on the accomplishments and lessons learned over the past 10 years.”

Read the full report here.

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