Researchers working in regenerative medicine have been highly collaborative, reporting 514 new collaborations with 206 (40 per cent) made in the past five years. MRC funding has helped high-quality teams establish these collaborations and secure significant additional and follow-on funding. Interestingly 117 (23 per cent) of all collaborations reported by researchers funded in MRC’s regenerative medicine portfolio relate to just eight major international consortia, including:
- EuraTrans – a follow up to the successful EuraTools consortium, this project’s aim is to use animal models to identify the major functional pathways underlying human inflammatory, cardiovascular and metabolic, and behavioural disorders
- EuroStemCell I & II – Running since 2006, this partnership combines researchers from 400+ groups alongside a project team of science communicators working to widen engagement on stem cells across Europe
- PluriMes - A consortium of 12 European partners have been awarded €6 million by the European Commission for a research and development project focused on directing stem cells to become bone and muscle.
- NeuroStemCell – Combining 13 academic partners, two SMEs and one Research Enterprise from seven countries, this consortium aims to develop stem cell based therapies for Parkinson´s disease and Huntington´s disease
These consortia bring together academics and biotech companies to foster new research breakthroughs through improved communication between geographically disparate laboratories. However unlike ‘standard’ academic collaborations, these consortia also include policymakers which enhance opportunities for translation of research outcomes in an area of considerable ethical and cultural complexity. Furthermore, the inclusion of dedicated consortia management teams with science communicators on staff ensures efficient coordination and raises the profile of stem cells (and the broader area of regenerative medicine) both to the wider public and policymakers.