The Stroke Association says three-quarters of its funded research projects have been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, and warns that its fund-raising capabilities have been devastated.
The charity said it anticipates a shortfall of £1.5 million in its funding programme this year, which will hinder efforts to resume current research and support vital new projects.
This, it warns, will have a “catastrophic knock on effect” for stroke research, which could delay access to important new life-changing treatments “that allow people to rebuild their lives after stroke”.
In a survey undertaken by the charity, one in five researchers (22%) said they will need more funding to continue their work, while 66% reported needing to make changes to their studies in order for their projects to continue.
Also of note, one in five (18%) research projects had team members redeployed to front-line work NHS working, for example as neurologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, potentially delaying progress.
“A lack of funding for research is now a ticking-time bomb,” said Dr Rubina Ahmed, research director at the Stroke Association.
“If we don’t act now the coronavirus pandemic could set back stroke research for years to come. The research community will struggle to get projects back up and running, but it’s vital for every stroke survivor and their loved ones that we do.”
Earlier this week, scientists wrote to the prime minister calling for urgent financial support following decimation of research income amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is calling for government participation in a co-investment scheme that provides a level of match funding for future research over the next three to five years.