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Insight blog: Posts tagged with international collaboration

Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.

Pushing dementia research forward through US-UK collaboration

22 Mar 2018

For MRC grants that involve collaborations, almost half (43%) are international. We’re running a symposium in Washington D.C to encourage more of this, by joining up UK early career researchers and National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers working in neurodegeneration. But what’s the international incentive? Three researchers with MRC-NIH Partnership Awards share how they hope to benefit.

Dr Chi-Hun Kim, Dementias Platform UK, University of Oxford

Dr Chi-Hun Kim

Dr Chi-Hun Kim

The UK and US each have rich data sources for dementia research. But there aren’t any efficient UK-US data access channels which make it easier for researchers in the two countries to collaborate.

I plan to use the Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) Data Portal as a channel for more efficient and long-standing collaboration. The portal is a secure one-stop website where researchers can upload their data and analyse it for free. By using this robust MRC-funded facility, I’ll conduct a study using data from both sides of the Atlantic. I’m aiming to get a better picture of how conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain might affect the development of dementia.

DPUK and I have been helping South Korea make a similar facility to help with international collaboration. My experiences from the MRC-Korea collaboration will set me up well for this exciting new collaboration.  [...]

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Global action on antimicrobial resistance

17 Nov 2016

Last year a UK-China research collaboration took an unexpected turn following the discovery of resistance to the ‘last resort’ antibiotic: colistin. Here Professor Timothy Walsh, Professor of Medical Microbiology at Cardiff University, describes how the global community can learn from the positive steps taken by the Chinese Government.

Board game with path on the cityAntibiotic resistance is really all about people and society. We often blame antimicrobial resistance on the bug and how resistance can travel from one bug to another. But different sectors, for example farming, hospitals and communities, are all critically linked. [...]

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Talking genetics with Robinson Crusoe

11 Feb 2014

Juan Fernandez, the main town on Robinson Crusoe Island (Wikimedia/Serpentus)

Juan Fernandez, the main town on Robinson Crusoe Island (Image credit: Wikimedia/Serpentus)

MRC-funded researcher Dianne Newbury won our international collaboration competition last year for a poster describing her work with researchers in Chile on speech and language development. When we heard that the story involved a mysterious predominance of language problems on the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe, we invited her to write about it.

Our story begins on a small island 400 miles off the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean. Robinson Crusoe Island is named after Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish sailor who was marooned on the island for four years in the 1700s and was reportedly the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s famous novel.

The island is quiet, the climate warm and the vistas unique, making it an idyllic holiday location. It has a population of less than 1,000 individuals, most of whom live in the island’s only town, San Juan Bautista. [...]

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Rising to the global challenge

15 Jan 2014

Mark Palmer

Mark Palmer

Tackling health problems around the world demands a global response. With a 100-year history of strategic international collaboration, MRC scientists today collaborate with researchers in more than 100 countries. Dr Mark Palmer, MRC Director of International Strategy, talks to Isabel Baker about the changing landscape of international collaboration and the exciting new opportunities it has to offer.

Has MRC-funded research always been international?

Yes, science is global, it’s an international activity. There has always been the exchange of ideas between people working in science, and these shared ideas spark new innovations and understanding. Science is about trying to progress knowledge. Increasingly, pooling resources allows us to solve problems that we couldn’t tackle alone.

Why collaborate on an international scale?

Firstly, health and diseases don’t recognise borders. Pandemic infections, for example, can only be tackled by taking a global approach. For many diseases it is also essential that research is conducted in those countries where the disease is prevalent. Secondly, many clinical studies may need large cohorts of patients; in particular when the disease is rare, research cannot be conducted in one country alone.

Additionally, international collaboration can give researchers the chance to work in a different political, regulatory or intellectual environment where different approaches have been made to problem solving. Exposure to a different way of thinking, and seeing how other people work, can be hugely beneficial to progressing research in our own country. [...]

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Celebrating a century of international collaboration

8 Jan 2014

Medical research benefits people worldwide, and science is an increasingly global endeavour. But how much do we know about how scientists work together across countries? Here we look at some of the key international collaborations that MRC scientists have been involved in the past 100 years, from the 1940s trial of streptomycin for tuberculosis to testing a smartphone app that tests eye health in Kenya.

[Video link for access] [...]

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Celebrating a century of international collaboration

11 Dec 2013

Medical research benefits people worldwide, but how many of us are aware of the corresponding worldwide effort that goes into achieving research breakthroughs and translating them into benefits for patients? MRC External Communications Officer, Stacy-Ann Ashley, found out more at the MRC’s celebration of 100 years of international collaboration.

Caption: MRC international collaboration poster competition shortlisted entrants with MRC Chief Executive, Sir John Savill; MRC Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Strategy, Dr Wendy Ewart; and MRC Director of International Strategy, Dr Mark Palmer.

Caption: MRC international collaboration poster competition shortlisted entrants with MRC Chief Executive, Sir John Savill; MRC Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Strategy, Dr Wendy Ewart; and MRC Director of International Strategy, Dr Mark Palmer.

The world can sometimes feel small, and never more so than when we look at what connects people and places. Often these connections are good, but not always: ill-health affects people wherever they are, anddiseases don’t recognise country borders. Consequently, improving human health around the world requires a global approach.

At the final event in the MRC Centenary programme, we showcased some key achievements in international collaborative research to invited guests, including the heads of many research organisations from around the world, eminent scientists and parliamentarians. These collaborations between scientists in every corner of the globe have enabled us to achieve breakthroughs in genetics, virus and bacterial infection and improved public health, to name just a few. The MRC plays an important role in devising and supporting strategic international collaboration, and a key aim of Research Changes Lives 2014–2019, the MRC’s refreshed strategic plan launched yesterday at the event, is to enable researchers to form partnerships across the globe. [...]

Continue reading: Celebrating a century of international collaboration