News & Views
Medical Research Ideas Receive £23.2m Boost
Feb 22 2016 Read 598 Times
New funding from The Medical Research Council (MRC) is set to accelerate innovative medical research with £23.2 million to take ground-breaking ideas from UK universities into industry and out to patients. The announcement (Feb 15) was made by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson as he visited the University of Birmingham’s medical school and the Institute of Biomedical Research laboratories.
The awards form three different funding initiatives, including a new scheme to support early stage and interdisciplinary ideas that can be high-risk as well as high-potential. This ‘Discovery Awards’ mechanism, consisting of £8.4m across 12 institutions, will accelerate ‘blue skies’ medical research by providing support much faster than usual funding routes and will focus on building capacity and capability in areas of high national priority.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Our global scientific impact far exceeds our size as a nation, and our world class researchers like those at Birmingham University help drive the engines of innovation keeping the UK at the forefront of new discovery. That is why we are protecting the science budget in real terms throughout this Parliament. This £23m fund provides invaluable support to help develop new ideas into the drugs and methods that will help save and improve lives.”
£11.6m was announced for ‘Confidence in Concept’ awards for 21 universities, providing funds to accelerate the transition from discovery science to viability testing and take promising basic research to the industry-academia interaction stage. In just three years preliminary projects supported by the CiC scheme have secured £110m of further funds from charity, public sector and industry funders. The data generated has helped support the creation of 16 new spin-out companies and led to the award of at least 27 patents.
The third awards mechanism is the ‘Proximity to Discovery’ scheme which helps universities to build partnerships with industry by developing new collaborations and ways of exchanging knowledge and skills. A total £3.3m was targeted for 17 universities.
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