News
Back to listing

Cutting edge medical research ideas receive £23.2m boost

15 Feb 2016

Image above: Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson tours the Institute of Biomedical Research with Professor Roy Bicknell. Copyright Birmingham University. 

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is accelerating innovative medical research with £23.2 million in new funding to take ground-breaking ideas from UK universities into industry and out to patients. 

The announcement was made today 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 are part of three different funding initiatives, set up by the MRC to specifically target different innovation needs. One of these is a new funding initiative which will enable universities to seize on ‘out of the box’ and interdisciplinary ideas at the earliest stage by supporting their investment in concepts that can be high-risk as well as high-potential. This Discovery awards mechanism 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.  The Discovery awards announced today will total £8.4m across 12 institutions.

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.”

Another £11.6m of funding was announced for Confidence in Concept (CiC) awards in 21 universities.  These awards provide flexible funding to universities to accelerate the transition from discovery science to viability testing and take promising basic research to the industry-academia interaction stage for the development of therapies, diagnostics and medical devices.

In just three years since its launch, researchers whose preliminary work has been supported by the CiC scheme awards have secured £110m of further support 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. Today’s announcement totals £3.3m investment in 17 universities.

Professor Sir John Savill, chief executive of the MRC, said “The MRC funding awards announced today help to identify and encourage exciting science and bring different cultures together to form strong collaborations.  The early outcomes show that through devolved decision-making, researchers all over the UK have exploited the flexibility and collaborative potential of these innovative schemes for health benefits.

“Confidence in Concept and the Discovery awards allow research institutions to rapidly test out exciting new ideas in translational and basic research.  Experts at the institutions themselves decide which research projects to pursue, which creates the agility to support truly cutting-edge ideas and help them to attract further funding.  Proximity to Discovery is a smaller-scale scheme that helps academics form important connections with industry, enabling them to exchange skills and develop productive partnerships.”

Confidence in Concept funding awards announced 15 February:

Institution

Amount Awarded

The University of Edinburgh

£900,000

Imperial College London

£900,000

The University of Oxford

£850,000

Newcastle University

£750,000

King's College London

£750,000

The University of Birmingham

£700,000

The University of Nottingham

£700,000

The University of Sheffield

£510,000

Queens University Belfast

£400,000

The University of Dundee

£700,000

University College London

£700,000

The University of Manchester

£600,000

The University of Glasgow

£500,000

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

£500,000

The University of Bristol

£400,000

The University of Cambridge

£400,000

Cardiff University

£350,000

The University of Sussex

£300,000

The University of Leicester

£250,000

The University of Leeds

£250,000

The University of Exeter

£200,000

Proximity to Discovery funding awards announced 15 February

Institution

Amount awarded

The University of Bristol

£250,000

Cardiff University

£250,000

The University of Manchester

£250,000

Newcastle University

£250,000

University College London

£250,000

The University of Dundee

£242,368

The University of Exeter

£225,000

The University of Birmingham

£200,000

The University of Leeds

£200,000

Queens University Belfast

£200,000

The University of Cambridge

£150,000

The University of Edinburgh

£150,000

The University of Leicester

£150,000

The University of Oxford

£150,000

The University of Sheffield

£125,000

The University of Liverpool

£100,000

The University of Warwick

£100,000

Categories

  • Categories: Funding
  • Health categories:
  • Strategic objectives: Securing impact from medical research, Capacity and skills, Aim: Picking research that delivers
  • Locations: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton
  • Type: News article