MRC/ABPI Inflammation and Immunology Initiative
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This call is now closed for applications and is available for reference purposes only.
The UK academic research base in immunology and inflammation is, in many areas, world class. However, there is concern that opportunities for collaboration between academics and industry are not being fully exploited due to a lack of awareness of current research activities and priorities.
The purpose of this initiative is to:
- Develop awareness of academic and industry research and training priorities and activities.
- Encourage alignment, both at a strategic and practical level, in areas where there are good prospects for added value through joint working.
- Foster collaboration with the help of appropriate funding mechanisms.
To take the initiative forward MRC and Pharma Forum partners, organised a one day residential Workshop in July 09 to discuss a number of issues highlighted in a “view from industry” discussion paper.
Through the discussions, a number of key issues were raised that formed obstacles to industry/academic collaborations and how these could be addressed, including:
- Improved networking
- Improved access to human tissues
- Improved support for clinical research in the UK
- Better understanding of safety
Delegates also identified a number of ways in which industry and academia could work together to tackle these issues. There was a strong steer from the delegates that the best way to proceed and tackle these problems was to take a disease focussed approach.
We are now holding two disease-focused workshops in COPD (15th/16th April 2010) and rheumatoid diseases (4/5th May 2010). The scope of each workshop will include discussion of novel biomarkers, stratified medicine approaches, sharing of chemical tools, development and refinement of animal models and in vitro approaches.
To co-ordinate the disease-focussed approach, a small steering committee has been established and this will be supplemented with disease-specific champions for each area.
This committee is chaired by Dr Mark Edwards (Pfizer) and includes membership from the MRC’s Populations and Systems Medicine Board, Infections and Immunity Board, ABPI, industry and academia.
This is the first time MRC and industry have worked together in this way and the outputs will inform future MRC and possibly industry strategy in translational spend and new approaches to stratification.
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