MMU Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog

Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Met


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Antimicrobial Resistance: The UK Action Plan

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have so far invested £44m into 78 interdisciplinary research projects into Antimicrobial Research (AMR) and with a new 20 year vision and 5 year action plan things are only set to increase.

With bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics increasingly spreading from one country to the next, antimicrobial resistance is now recognised as one of the most serious threats to human health this century. If things continue unchecked a 2014 AMR review paper estimates that by 2050 the cost of AMR could be up to $100 trillion and account for an additional 10 million extra deaths each year.

In response to this the UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced a 20 year vision and 5 year action plan (2019 – 2024) with the intent to contain, control and mitigate antimicrobial resistance.

UKRI have committed £41m to support projects in partnership with members of the Joint Programme Initiative in AMR. To successfully deliver this research agenda the partnership will:

  • Support co-ordinated AMR related research areas.
  • Continue to influence global research strategies on AMR, ensuring alignment of UK-funded research, and emphasising the need for research to be useful for front-line teams.
  • Develop interdisciplinary networks and inform and develop interventions across all sectors.
  • Continue to develop the scientific capacity needed to support and deliver ongoing high-quality research in infectious disease, prevention and microbiology-related disciplines.

Both Matt Hancock and Theresa May have echoed the importance of this research and that it is pivotal it be conducted in a multidisciplinary and internal manor.

This is a summary of an article on which appeared on the MRC website. For the full article please click here.

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Research & Innovation in the NHS Long Term Plan

Last week the NHS released their long term plan with funding of £20.5 billion backing the new plans up to 2023, of course research and innovation features within the plan which is summarised below.


Research and innovation are key to both the NHS and UK economy. ‘Research-active’ hospitals have lower mortality rates with patients benefiting from earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments and faster recovery. The government plans to treble it’s industry contract and R&D collaborative research with the NHS over the next ten years to nearly £1 billion.

The NHS will be working to increase the number of people registered to participate in health research to 1 million by 2023/24, one way of doing this will be by allowing people to register their interest via an app by 2020.

There is a particular focus on investing in genomics research with the aim to be the first national health care system to offer whole genome sequencing as part of routine care. During 2019 seriously ill children who are likely to have rare genetic disorders, children with cancer, and adults suffering from certain rare conditions or specific cancers, will begin to be offered whole genome sequencing.

Uptake of proven, affordable innovations will be accelerated through a new Medtech funding mandate. This applies to health tech products (other than pharmaceuticals) assessed as cost saving by NICE. The number of NICE evaluations will also be significantly increased giving greater scope for assessment of digital products in particular.


For more information about the NHS long term plan you can visit the plans here.


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The Year Ahead for Physical Sciences, Engineering and the Environment

A version of this article first appeared on Research Professional 08/01/2019 

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) will be announcing their priorities for the next five years in spring – so definitely worth keeping an eye on their websites!

Materials scientist Alison Davenport will report to the STFC this year on a review of the council’s consolidated grants, which account for £100m that the council awards annually in research grants each year.

Aerospace companies competing for a £92 million government contract to carry out a feasibility study on home-grown replacements for the EU’s Galileo Satellite Navigation System will find out if they are successful early this year. The UK is set to stop using Galileo for defense and critical national infrastructure after Brexit.

The NERC’s polar research ship (The RRS Sir David Attenborough) will be undergoing a year of sea trials before before it’s polar expeditions begin in 2020.

In the first few months of 2019 the government will review the implementation of the sector deals on automotive, artificial intelligence, aerospace and nuclear industries.

The year will close with a crucial meeting for UK space with the science minister and representatives from the UK Space Agengy attending the council meeting of the European Space Agency in November – the members will be tasked with setting funding levels.


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Wellcome – New Areas in Development

The Wellcome Trust are exploring two new areas in development to investigate what impact their involvement could have and decide whether these should be taken forward as new priority areas.

Data for Science and Health

What can Wellcome do to drive innovative and imaginative uses of data to improve science and health? They’ll be looking to transform three key areas:

  • Access to data. They wish to improve access e.g. by helping to make datasets more interoperable, or simplifying complex regulatory frameworks. Researchers can access the data they need for their research.
  • Diversity of the Workforce. Datascience does not have adiverse workforce, this could be due to researchers with different skillsets not having the opportunity to collaborate.
  • Public confidence in data use. Nuilding up public trust around new uses of data so that everyone can benefit.

Snakebites

Snakebites are one of the most neglected health problems in low and middle income countries, between 80,000 and 140,000 people die each year from being bitten by venomous snakes with 400,000 left with life changing disabilities. Wellcome will be investigating:

  • Reviving and stabilising the market for effective antivenoms.
  • Accelerating research and innovation to improve existing antivenoms and develop alternatives.
  • Working with funders, researchers and policymakers and industry.

More details will follow about the programmes of work – keep an eye on the Wellcome Trust website for more details.


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The Year Ahead for Biomedical Science & Biotechnology

A version of this article first appeared on Research Professional 04/01/2019.  

biomedical science

The long-term NHS plan is expected to be published within the next month with medical charities, and medical research organisations hoping it will make it easier for clinicians to conduct research. Meanwhile Industry and Government will start to implement the second life sciences sector deal, including the £1.3 billion investment in UK life sciences.

The Nuffield Council for Bioethics will be replacing members of their council, as their terms come to an end – you have until 28th January to apply (have a look here!). Towards the end of the year they will also be publishing a report on the ethical challenges of global health emergencies.

The MRC will be hiring a clinical director and along with the other eight bodies of UKRI will publish their first strategic delivery plans by the spring.

The Wellcome Trust have updated their priority areas – more to follow on this.

The Academy of Medical Sciences is expected to announce their first cohort of “future leaders” this month for their FLIER leadership programme. They will also be hosting a UK-India antimicrobial resistance symposium in February.

The NHS are hoping to sequence 1 million whole genomes in fives years and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics will be exploring the ethical issues with genome editing farmed animals.


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Wellcome to Review how Science is Funded

The Wellcome Trust has announced that it will be reviewing the way in which it supports science.

Wellcome’s mission is improve health for everyone. A large way in which this is achieved is through their support of science (£630 million a year) through various schemes. The way in which science is supported has varied very little over the decades of funding and Director of Science, Jim Smith, has decided it’s time to change this. With £1 billion earmarked by Wellcome for science, innovation and culture each year for the next five years any changes could have a major impact. 

The review will focus on the following questions:

  • What disciplines and areas of science should Wellcome support?
  • What career stages should Wellcome focus on?
  • Where should Wellcome fund?
  • With whom should Wellcome partner?

The review is expected to take a year to complete with any major changes to be introduced from October 2021

You can read more about the review on the Wellcome Website and on Research Professional


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Good News for Social Care Research

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has announced that it will be allocating £20 million to social care research and training of researchers working in the field over the next 5 years, boosting research to improve adult social care across the country.

NIHR have said the money will allow it’s partners (which includes the University of Manchester and University of Birmingham amongst others) to carry out research into mental health, dementia and care homes – so now is a good opportunity to get networking!

£1.8 million of the fund will be dedicated to training researchers through the new NIHR Academy which was created last month.

The NIHR’s School for Social Care Research will be opening the call for proposals in Summer 2019.  

 

For further information please visit Research Professional or the NIHR website.