Project Summary

“The Access Campaign at Medecins Sans Frontieres welcomes the Global Health Research League Table as an important step forward to better align the policies and practices of UK universities and research institutions with the urgent need to ensure that medicines, vaccines and diagnostics are affordable and suitable and that research and development is better focused on the health needs of developing countries. We welcome the Table and look forward to the impact it will have on innovation and access to medicines.”

– Rohit Malpani, Director of Policy & Analysis, Médecins Sans Frontierès – Access Campaign

“The first ‘UK University Global Health Research League Table’ helps illuminate the effects of academic biomedical research on the health of the world’s poor, and hold universities accountable for the impact, or lack of impact, that their policies have on global health. I am grateful to the students of UAEM for creating the scorecard, and strongly encourage students, faculty, and broader university communities to call on their institutions to enact policies that increase access to lifesaving medicines and medical technologies for those who need them most.”

– Dr. Paul Farmer, Partners In Health

The Global Health Research League Table (GHRLT) independently measures the commitment of the UK’s top 25 funded universities to global health research, supporting universities, researchers and students to ensure research meets the needs of people worldwide.

A project of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) and Medsin-UK, the League Table uses publicly-available and university-reported information to evaluate two key areas:

  1. Are universities investing in global health research and medical research that addresses the neglected health disease needs of low-income communities worldwide?
  2. Do universities share new discoveries in ways that ensure treatments reach people in developing countries at affordable prices, and how much of their research is freely available online?


Why is this needed?

Universities are major drivers of innovation. Between 1/4 and 1/3 of new medicines originate in academic labs, and universities have contributed to the development of one out of every four HIV/AIDS treatments.

Global health is a broad and multidisciplinary field, ranging from strengthening health systems to the social determinants of health. A evidence-base is the cornerstone of global health interventions, from determining burden of disease and local need, to designing programmes and formulating best practice. Universities are well placed to harness their academic expertise to develop this evidence base and provide support to colleagues in developing countries.

This key research role gives universities huge potential to advance global health. The size and scope of their impact depends on decisions about where to focus research and how to share new discoveries.

More than 1 billion people worldwide suffer from “neglected diseases” – illnesses rarely researched by the private sector because most of those affected are too poor to provide a market for new drugs. Even worse, 10 million people die each year simply because they can’t get life-saving medicines that already exist – often because those treatments are just too expensive. Universities can use their unique positions as public-interest, largely publicly-funded research institutions to address these challenges. By prioritizing research on diseases neglected by for-profit research and development, they can pioneer new treatments that will benefit millions in the developing world. And by sharing their medical breakthroughs under open, non-exclusive licenses or licenses that promote lower prices in developing countries, universities can help poor patients worldwide access new, life-saving treatments.

Some universities are already taking these steps. The Global Health Research League Table aims to provide comprehensive data on the commitment of universities to global health research, measuring innovation and access.



An analysis of our findings will be displayed here after the official launch of the GHRLT on Wednesday the 21st of January, at 17:00GMT.


The GHRLT was made possible through funding from the Scurrah Wainwright Charity.