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1 August, 2017 - 00:53 By Tony Quested

Major collaboration to commercialise more science & tech

Wellcome Trust Steven Caddick

Organisations with key staging posts in the Cambridge cluster have joined forces to help accelerate the commercialisation of more cutting edge science and research.

Technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser and the Wellcome Trust, which funds the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, are leading lights in the initiative.

The Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, and the Wellcome Trust have outlined a series of commitments to ensure that translation is recognised and celebrated as an integral part of academic research.

They will work with universities and research institutes to find practical ways to make changes based on the Transforming UK Translation commitments.
In a joint statement they said: “The UK has a long history of excellence in research. To ensure our thriving knowledge economy results in the widest possible benefit to society we need to do more to continue to strengthen our translation system.

“Together we wish to increase the ease with which great ideas, discoveries and inventions can be transformed to generate real benefits for society and the economy.”

Transforming UK Translation covers a broad definition of translation and a range of outputs and activities, primarily taking place in universities and research institutes, including:-

  • Exchange of knowledge and ideas
  • Creation and exploitation of intellectual Property 
  • Academic-industrial collaborations
  • Spin-out companies
  • Development of products and processes
  • Enabling technologies such as research tools and materials

The commitments are based on an understanding of the different and complementary roles organisations have to play – and that not every organisation will be able to address all of the actions outlined.

Stephen Caddick, Wellcome’s director of innovation said: “Wellcome’s mission is to improve human health by supporting science. By working together, on set of shared principles and practical actions we will have much greater chance of realising the potential of scientific inquiry and discovery.”

Wellcome has more than £3 billion of grants in the UK science community and is committed to maximising the impact from that investment. 

A key part of Wellcome’s innovation strategy is to build more explicit links between science, technology and innovation in order to improve human health around the world.

Wellcome is working with UK universities to set up Pilot Awards to support translation and will consider follow-on awards for particularly promising translational projects. 

Wellcome is also helping with patent costs directly arising from Wellcome awards and in the future will allow universities to apply for revenue returns for additional translation activities.

Hermann Hauser, co-chair of the Royal Society’s Science, Industry and Translation Committee, added: “The Royal Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognise and support excellence in science, and that includes innovation.

“Science and innovation sit right at the heart of the UK government’s industrial strategy, which means ensuring that the translation system functions effectively has never been more important. The combined voices of the three academies and the Wellcome Trust are clear that translation should be recognised and rewarded as an integral part of research excellence.”

Kiss Communications

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