A Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine-led programme to develop a framework for translational health research and commercial development has been awarded over £1m in UK government funding.
FLIGHT (Framework for Leveraging Innovation in Global Health Technologies) is one of 14 successful projects in the latest round of Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund / Research England Development Fund awards.
This government initiative provides funding for collaborations between universities and with private sector partners to achieve more effective research commercialisation. It aims to support universities and their role in supporting and generating local and national economic growth.
Writing in Wonkhe, Research England’s Executive Chair Jessica Corner said: “These allocations will provide funding to reinforce the critical innovation ecosystem building that is already playing a vital part in levelling up, and to contribute to technology sector developments.”
Awarded over £1.1m, FLIGHT involves LSTM, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), as well as a range of businesses and global health partners.
Earlier this year, LSTM was also awarded over £1.6m from the Research England Development Fund for a project helping to realise the economic gains from increased infection R&D. This scheme supports institutional strategic developmental projects in higher education research and knowledge exchange in line with government and UK Research and Innovation priorities.
Utilising the specialist knowledge at LSTM and with our partners, we aim to demonstrate a successful model of translational research and commercialisation for new health products, and share best practice within the sector to ensure economic benefits can be realised in other parts of the country.
Becky Jones-Phillips, Head of Enterprise and Innovation at LSTM, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this important funding from Research England to define a new framework for innovation for HEIs. Utilising the specialist knowledge at LSTM and with our partners, we aim to demonstrate a successful model of translational research and commercialisation for new health products, and share best practice within the sector to ensure economic benefits can be realised in other parts of the country. This is an important part of LSTM’s commitment to levelling up and meeting the region’s ambitions to be a leader in health research, development and innovation.”
Alex Anderson, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) Strategic Research Office, said: “The CCF-RED fund represents an excellent opportunity for LSHTM to build further links with our regional Knowledge Exchange partners at LSTM and Brighton & Sussex Medical School. Our consortium will address gaps in the translational journey by leveraging our collective expertise and will empower our innovators to forge new external industrial networks and advance their technologies closer to delivering societal and economic impact.”
Simon Waddell, Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis at BSMS, said: “BSMS are looking forward to working on this exciting project with LSTM to drive innovation pathways in global health settings.”
In recognition of the challenges in developing new products for public health, and infectious diseases specifically, FLIGHT seeks to develop an Innovation and Enterprise Framework for commercialising, accelerating and converting translational research into products and treatments that can be used by public health systems.
Filling gaps in product development, regulatory navigation and market access, FLIGHT will build on the collective expertise in health innovation and the deployment pipeline among partners and rapidly identify, develop and secure opportunities for IP creation and licensing to the commercial sector.
The two-year project also seeks to develop a model of best practice of engaging the NHS and global health system providers, using the success of LSTM-led iiCON as an example of innovation and leveraging collaboration between HEIs and business partners. FLIGHT will benchmark with international comparators and provide recommendations for ecosystem strengthening in low-to-middle-income countries.