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  • Network to Accelerate Breakthroughs in Health Research

Network to Accelerate Breakthroughs in Health Research

Mar 15 2021

By joining the Leap Health Breakthrough Network, the Francis Crick Institute has aligned with other internationally leading academic and research institutions committed to solving serious global health challenges, such as cancer and infectious diseases. 

Established by Wellcome Leap, a non-profit organisation founded by the Wellcome Trust, the network is made up of 21 world-class institutions representing over 150,000 researchers across six continents.

Sam Barrell, Chief Operating Officer at the Crick said: “The Crick is excited by the opportunity to engage in such a novel and ambitious funding initiative. The multidisciplinary, global teams that Leap will enable have the potential to drive transformational benefits for human health. We look forward to seeing the impact.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of tackling urgent, large-scale health challenges quickly and across disciplines, organisations, and borders. It is imperative that good ideas are identified and funded quickly, and that researchers across many institutions can build solutions together.

At the moment it can take as long as a year to finalise research funding agreements and often when collaboration is required, work can’t begin until all parties are signed — further prolonging the delay. Additionally, key components needed to catalyse innovation sometimes come from individual researchers or smaller institutions that are often left out of major research initiatives. Breakthroughs require momentum and diverse capabilities, wherever they exist globally.

The Wellcome Leap network will tackle these issues and help eliminate barriers to progress thanks to the first-of-its-kind Master Academic Research Funding Agreement (MARFA), which equitably addresses all terms and conditions, including IP, ownership and publication. 

Now that the Crick has signed the MARFA, it will only need to negotiate the statement of work and cost, before funds can be transmitted and work can begin. This can often be achieved in days, shaving months or more off of development timelines.

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