Meeting review of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Confidence in Concept (CiC) Tropical Infectious Disease Consortium

News article 16 Mar 2015
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Today saw the meeting of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Confidence in Concept (CiC) Tropical Infectious Disease Consortium, which is a partnership of leading UK institutes involved in translation research in tropical infectious diseases. It is made of LSTM’s Research Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics (RCDD), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, The Jenner Institute at Oxford University and Public Health England Microbiology Services in Porton Down.

 The partnership has been set up to deliver a high number of scientifically excellent translational projects in areas including: diagnostics; therapeutics; vaccines; vector control tools; translational focused informatics and translational enabling technologies.

Over the past two years, with support from the MRC, the consortium has awarded 17 translational projects £50,000 each. These include projects in drug discovery, vaccine development and the development of new bed nets. The consortium has been awarded a further £500,000 from the MRC for 2015 which will be allocated to eligible projects via an open competitive process.

Today’s meeting was chaired by LSTM’s Professor Giancarlo Biagini and began with a presentation from LSTM’s Deputy Director, Professor Steve Ward. All of the partners within the consortium gave a short presentation along with Louise Jones, Head of Translational Research at the MRC. This was followed by presentations by SME industry partners and after lunch there was an opportunity for fund recipients to talk to through their projects so far.

Professor Steve Ward said: “Today has given us the opportunity to come together and work with our partners to catalyse further ideas in the field of translational research. The drive to translate research into health benefits for some of the world’s poorest people is at the heart of what we do at LSTM. As part of this consortium, and with the support of the MRC, we are working in partnership with the private sector to deliver a product focussed approach to some of the most significant global health problems of our time.” 

Dr Louise Jones of the MRC said: “The MRC has invested in high-quality research to bring the benefits of biomedical research to populations across the globe for many years. This not only delivers on the UK’s commitments to international development but also confronts research questions that are relevant to everyone.

This is an exciting partnership between leading UK institutes involved in translational research in tropical infectious diseases. It enables the complimentary skills at each institution to create a critical mass of UK researchers.  The MRC’s Confidence in Concept Scheme is intended to accelerate scientifically excellent translational ideas to a stage where there is sufficient certainty in the underlying hypothesis to enable more substantive support from external funders towards potential therapeutic and diagnostic development.”

The consortium is looking to allocate funding to further successful eligible projects later this year.