EPSRC/MRC joint statement on support for healthcare technologies
Support for healthcare technologies is of strategic importance to both EPSRC and MRC and we are committed to funding research projects and researchers of the highest international quality.
EPSRC and MRC work together in key areas where innovation depends on both excellence in leading edge engineering and physical sciences and leading edge biological and clinical sciences.
Key priority areas for joint working include but are not restricted to:
- Regenerative medicine
- Therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action
- Novel diagnostic and sensor technologies which offer the potential for rapid point of care diagnosis and for the detection of new biomarkers
- Infection prevention and antibiotic resistance
In these areas we will work together to ensure that all the strands needed for innovation across clinical, biological and STEM interfaces are developed. For example, the cross- Research Council strategy for regenerative medicine identified key science and technology challenges that need to be addressed to bring basic science into clinical use, and these are being addressed through the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform.
In addition, the RCUK Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) programme was launched in 2008 (as one of the major cross-council grand challenges) and supports multidisciplinary research addressing factors throughout life that influence health and wellbeing in older age. This programme is led by the Medical Research Council on behalf of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
There are areas where health technology innovation can be best achieved through leading edge engineering coupled to good user-need insights, for example the development of new generations of surgical robotics. In these areas EPSRC will lead the support for research and training, working in collaboration with Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) where appropriate – see further details on EPSRC’s priority areas.
Similarly, there are areas where innovation in medical technologies is driven by the biomedical and clinical sciences rather than engineering and physical sciences, for example, the application of standard imaging methodologies in the study of disease states. In these areas MRC will lead the support for research and training – working with TSB and others as needed..
The Research Councils provide complementary support for healthcare technologies and we ensure the best assessment and funding route for response-mode research across all areas through the Cross-Council Funding Agreement. Following consultation between the Councils, applicants will be advised where best to submit their proposal; input to the peer review and co-funding of projects across the Councils is also possible using this agreement.