The HIC-Vac Network has received additional funding from The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to strengthen links between UK research and industry and accelerate vaccine development.
The extra £600,000 investment will be used to support Network activities that promote collaboration between industrial and academia-based Network members.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, as part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. Innovate UK and the Research Councils are taking a leading role in delivering this funding.
HIC-Vac’s goal is to speed up vaccine development and reduce the burden of some of the world's most crippling diseases by supporting volunteer infection studies.
The extra funding will allow HIC-Vac to invest in meetings and workshops that encourage leading researchers to collaborate with industry, training to boost skills needed by industry, and provide research funding to projects that involve industry partners.
Professor Peter Openshaw, HIC-Vac Network Director, said: “This extra investment will help us support more of the excellent research that’s happening in the UK, building our knowledge of infections and how to prevent and treat them. Bringing research and industry together is vital for ensuring that scientific knowledge is translated into new and better vaccines for widespread use.”
Some of the funding will be used to support pump priming grants, which focus on the early stages of vaccine development and support the research communities to do innovative and collaborative research to address bottlenecks in preclinical discovery R&D. The first successful applicants will be announced at the end of March, 2018.
HIC-Vac is one of 5 networks that are supported by the GCRF Networks in Vaccines Research & Development, which is co-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Dr Martin Broadstock, Programme Manager for Immunology at the MRC, said: “Our goal through the MRC/BBSRC Networks is to accelerate vaccine R&D and the additional ISCF investment will help achieve this by supporting academics and industry partners to work together more closely.”
Vaccines are the most cost-effective way to reduce the global burden of infectious disease. Vaccination currently prevents around 2 to 3 million deaths every year*. But many more lives could be saved through new and better vaccines, which is why we urgently need to support research in this field.
*Figures taken for the WHO http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs378/en/