A prestigious £600,000 grant will help academics at The University of Nottingham to cross the research ‘valley of death’ to bring the latest advances from bench to bedside.
The University will use the Confidence in Concept award from the Medical Research Council to fund a number of six to 12-month feasibility studies to develop new drugs and diagnostic technologies.
The funded projects will fall into three broad categories — biomedical markers and diagnostics; biomedical imaging; and drug discovery, development and delivery — and will be aimed at bringing developments out of the lab and translating them into real advances in patient care.
The latest grant brings the total the University has received from the Confidence in Concept programme to £1 million, having previously received a £400,000 grant in 2012.
Professor Saul Tendler, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised again by the MRC in these awards. This grant will fund projects developing interventions which would represent a step change improvement in the treatment and diagnosis of serious disease.
“The Confidence in Concept award is particularly aimed at research which has the potential to have a huge impact on patient care but which may struggle to cross the so-called ‘valley of death’ — the funding divide between the initial breakthrough stage and clinical trial which can often be a significant financial barrier to bringing new treatments and technologies to the market.”
It is hoped that the initial grant from this project will allow researchers to produce a robust ‘proof of concept’ that will attract additional support from other funding bodies to take the research further.
The first tranche of cash from the Confidence in Concept programme has already gone on to support projects including roadtesting a more reliable MRI test for multiple sclerosis that works across all MRI scanners; improved diagnostics for gastric conditions such as dyspepsia, reflux disease and diabetic gastro paresis and new tests to detect Parkinson’s disease in its earliest stages.
Researchers at the University will be invited to bid for the latest pot of funding and the successful projects are likely to be announced in the spring this year.
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