NRN Funding

02/12/2015 Pics (C) Huw John, Cardiff. MANDATORY BYLINE - Huw John, Cardiff 2nd Annual LifeSciences NRN Congress, St David's Hotel, Cardiff Bay e-mail: mail@huwjohn.com Web: www.huwjohn.com

(C)  Huw John, Cardiff – 2nd Annual LifeSciences NRN Congress, St David’s Hotel, Cardiff Bay

NRN Funding

The Network aims to fund a range of activities aimed at supporting researchers to apply for additional research funding including:

PhD Studentships
Research Projects
Endeavour
Platform Grants
Tenovus Cancer Care Studentships

The Network aims to fund a range of activities aimed at building long term research capacity and increasing the level of research funding awarded to Welsh universities. All universities in Wales will be eligible to apply as long as can demonstrate that their proposal meets the Network’s criteria for investment. All funding will be awarded via an open competition in response to periodic calls.

Science to be addressed

Key scientific questions to be addressed, which on past experience can lead to World leading REF 4* papers, translational activities, commercialisation, fiscal return, job creation and high impact are:

  • Novel target discovery and validation
  • Finding new molecular entities as selective hits at these targets
  • Developing hits at enzyme targets into viable drug like lead molecules
  • Probing their mechanism of action
  • Collaborative progression of leads towards being IND-ready clinical candidates
  • Developing new diagnostics to identify or confirm a particular medical condition

Therapeutic areas

The Network will support a board range of therapeutic areas but expects to receive strong bids in the following areas:

  • Diseases of the central nervous system: To include Alzheimer’s disease
  • Oncology: To include leukaemias and solid tumours
  • Infectious diseases: To include viral, bacterial and fungal disease
  • Other diseases with unmet medical need

The Network acknowledges areas of established research excellence within Wales (such as oncology, neuroscience and infectious disease) but welcomes excellent proposals in other areas of Drug Discovery and Development.

As ever the Network’s core theme will be to support excellent science relevant to unmet medical and veterinary need.

Diagnostic Devices

The Network supports the development of new or improved diagnostic devices that identify or confirm a particular medical condition.   The Network is particularly interested in those devices that enable clinicians to select the most appropriate therapies or treatments based on an individual patient’s needs.

In all cases the applicant will need to demonstrate that their project is directly relevant to drug development and addresses an area of unmet medical need. The final decision as to whether a proposal meets these criteria rest with the Network’s Management Board.

What we will not invest in

Given relatively limited budgets the Network cannot invest in all life sciences and health related activity in Wales, and there are certain areas that currently fall outside of our remit.

These include: medical devices (other than diagnostic devices),  clinical trials (where we feel HCRW better placed to fund, along with National UK funding bodies) and areas where medical need is satisfied. The Network may consider technologies in support of clinical trials if other criteria are met but does not envisage major funding in antibodies or other biologicals, based on Wales’ current portfolio, and the specialist expertise to progress these agents. Whist the Network does not plan to fund clinical trials, it does envisage close liaison with clinicians at each of our medical schools to advise on areas of medical need, and to be actively involved in reverse translation (e.g. Mason, Wales Cancer Bank). Having access to clinical samples and tissue is enormously valuable in making assays more relevant to patients and derisking development selections and as biomarkers.