Six new partnerships to translate research into treatments

Today, we’re announcing collaborations with six institutions to find new ways to translate scientific discoveries into real world impact.

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We are committing £6 million to these first translational partnerships with the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Imperial College and Oxford through the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok.

Researchers can face a number of barriers to taking the first step to translating their research – and often need more than financial support, including mentorship and regulatory advice.

Making the transition between discovery science and translation easier is one of the core aims of Wellcome’s Innovation for Impact [PDF 200KB].

Earlier this year, we set out a series of commitments – Transforming UK translation [PDF 99KB] – together with the Royal Society, Academy of Medical Sciences and Royal Academy of Engineering.

How we will work together

Through our new translational partnerships we will work closely with partners to explore new ways of supporting transition and to share best practice.

By working at institutional level, we can work with each university to develop support which will best suit its own researchers.

Support through the new partnerships will be primarily, but not exclusively, for Wellcome-supported scientists. It will include a portfolio of activities, for example:

  • developing seed funds, identifying mentors and entrepreneurs in residence
  • access to Wellcome’s network of advisers, experts and mentors
  • introductions to potential partners to take promising advances forward.
"We want to make sure there’s every opportunity for the people and organisations we support to translate great scientific discoveries into innovations with broad, lasting impact."
Stephen Caddick, Director of Innovation

Wellcome’s Innovation team will continue to identify new partners. Our long-term aim is to build a broad international network to help share and spread great ideas and practice in translation and innovation.

What the six partnerships will focus on

  • At Bristol, we will help early career researchers embark on translation of their research. An early project will be explore how a Mendelian randomisation tool developed at Bristol can used in drug development.
  • Cambridge will initially focus on chemical biology, developing collaborations between clinicians and industry, including experts from outside traditional biomedical disciplines. A series of workshops will bring academics and industry experts together to solve a series of problems.
  • Support at Edinburgh will focus on supporting our Henry Dale and Henry Wellcome Fellows, providing mentorship and support, and driving research towards translation and a step-change in the emerging entrepreneurial culture within the university.
  • With Imperial College we will build on our historical funding of biomedical engineering and will focus on creating new medical technologies ranging from implantable bioactive devices and wearable technologies.
  • Manchester University will use the partnership to help eliminate key bottlenecks on the pathway from pre-clinical work to patient benefit, taking advantage of the recent devolution of health and social care in Manchester to build connections between researchers and clinicians.
  • At MORU (Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit), the focus will be on closing the gap between research and implementing interventions, building capacity and expertise to support early translation to improve the health of people in low-income countries.

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