The Joint Translation Fund supports the College-wide development of novel devices, diagnostics and therapeutics for areas of unmet clinical need. The NIHR Imperial BRC contributes to the fund, which is worth around £1.3m per year. The aim is to provide vital pilot funding to bridge the gap between discovery research and applications. Funded projects demonstrate ‘proof of principle’ of new discoveries, showing they have potential for translation into the clinic and onto the market. This might be, for example, developing a prototype medical device, conducting proof-of-concept tests for repurposing a treatment or optimising a novel therapeutic.
The fund is made available by the MRC (Confidence in Concept fund), the NIHR Imperial BRC, the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, and EPSRC and BBSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts, as well as support from the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.
Funding is allocated through a competitive call process, to which researchers from the Imperial Academic Health Science Centre can apply. Proposed projects are based on new discovery science in any of the three College Faculties – Medicine, Natural Sciences and Engineering – and preferably a collaboration of two or more of these areas.
To apply, researchers first express interest and submit a full application if shortlisted. A selection committee, including members from industry, makes the final decision on which projects to fund.
Recently funded projects include:
- Preclinical assessment of a lead NMT inhibitor as a novel anticancer agent (Tate)
- Development and validation of a 2 gene RNA test to detect bacterial infection (Levin)
- A ‘smart’ ultrasonic focus for brain drug delivery (Choi)
- GM-CSF gene therapy for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (Griesenbach)