Chairman Ian Brace writes:

“The new year will, I am sure, bring new challenges for the sector.  As ever, it is difficult to predict what is going to happen.  As I write, Carillion has just gone down.  Many say, particularly politicians with hindsight, that it was predictable, but few appear to have acted beforehand.

Who can predict what will happen in the research sector in the coming year, not that I am aware that any of our major companies having issued profit warnings!  But we, the MRBA, need to be here ready to pick up at least some of the pieces of people’s lives if such a collapse were to happen, be it to a small research company or one of the giants of the industry.  That is one of the reasons why we constantly try to ensure that awareness of the Association around the industry remains as high as we can get it, through the use of tools such as MRBA Matters, through fundraising events, other events, our website and social media.

But it is not just the major collapses that we are here for.  We are also here for the collapses that occur in the lives of individuals, be that through ill health, accident or just plain misfortune.  It is these people to whom we need to reach out month after month.  And it is amongst these people that maintaining awareness of the Association is often the most challenging.

If you can help us to achieve that and ‘spread the word’  in any way, be it by putting up a poster in your office, talking about the MRBA to colleagues, or spotting someone who might need us and telling them about us, then you will have contributed to overcoming what is one of our major challenges.  Please email if you would like to help.

Or feel free to do some fundraising for us.  Former Committee Member, Justin Gutmann has written an update of the amazing ‘Swim across the Channel’ which was organised by Virginia Barstow in 1987.  Together with Sarah Baxter, Pete Evans, Martin Topping and Linda Nathan who sadly died last year, the six of them got sponsorship from the industry as well as raised money from individuals.  After expenses, they generated over £15K for the MRBA.

Justin has now thrown down the gauntlet over 30 years later to the next generation of researchers: “Why not have a go at swimming the channel as a team, beating our time and beating our fundraising efforts?” Visit and scroll down to Fundraise For us for the full story.


I am delighted to welcome Gill Welch to the MRBA Management Committee.  Gill has been a researcher throughout her career so has a good knowledge of the industry. You can read more about her elsewhere in this issue. Now she is a trained Citizens Advice adviser and brings to our ranks the knowledge she has gained there of how to help people who are in difficult circumstances. We are all delighted that she has joined us and we look forward to her contribution to helping our cases.”

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