House of Lords written question – answered on 22nd February 2010.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Truscott on 25 June 2007 (WA 96-8) and by Lord Drayson on 15 January 2010 (WA 197), how the research councils have engaged with concerns raised by Professor Robin Lovell-Badge and Professor Austin Smith about the use of public money for certain types of stem cell work, reported on 2 February 2010; and to what extent they have evaluated the impact of any such publication bias on the peer review system.

Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Science and Innovation) (also in the Ministry of Defence)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) considers excellence as the primary consideration in taking decisions on which proposals to fund and all research proposals submitted to the MRC are subject to stringent scientific peer review. Considerable emphasis is placed on the written proposal submitted. The MRC does not rely solely on the record of published papers; this is just one aspect of an application that is taken into account. The MRC has not been made aware of any evidence that would support the suggestion of any publication bias in the peer review system.

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