Money matters: Priorities in leprosy research funding
Priorities for leprosy research are discussed frequently, but the variety of sources of research funding, and the choices of research priorities by funding organizations, are not well known. To address these matters, a survey was conducted of 16 NGOs known to support leprosy research. The offices of the CEO of each NGO were asked to report the total amount of their research funding from 2017–2021. They were also asked to indicate which of the five priority categories they supported, as defined by the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy and the Leprosy Research Initiative. The results were presented at the 21st International Leprosy Congress in Hyderabad, India, and the audience in the session was also polled regarding their experience in seeking research funding. Funding from these NGOs totaled nearly $50 million for the five-year period. Each priority category was supported by 10–12 of the NGOs; 6 supported all categories. This preliminary survey underestimates total support available, since funding from governments and several other organizations was not included. Reponses from participants indicated that additional research funding is warranted. Further in-depth study of this issue will be valuable in providing a fuller picture of the leprosy research funding landscape, and in ascertaining the alignment of research funding to the priorities that have been identified.