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A new strategy for UK regenerative medicine

28 March 2012

Four UK Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board will today unveil a new roadmap for UK regenerative medicine research, which will include £75M of investment into translational science.

A Strategy for UK Regenerative Medicine (PDF 3.74MB) sets out clear objectives and a delivery plan focussed on translating our increased biological understanding into clinical impacts that will benefit both patients and the UK economy.

Developed by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Technology Strategy Board, the strategy takes stock of current capability and outlines the knowledge gaps and translational barriers that must be overcome if the UK is to remain at the forefront of global regenerative medicine over the next five years.

A key part of the strategy - a £25M investment into a new cross-Council UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UKRMP) - will open for applications today. The UKRMP will work in close partnership with the £50m Technology Strategy Board Cell Therapy Catapult Centre to address the technical and scientific challenges associated with translating promising scientific discoveries in this area towards clinical impact. In doing so, the strategy aims to ensure full connectivity between the science base and those seeking to apply this for clinical and commercial impact, allowing the UK regenerative medicine community to operate as a single, globally competitive cluster.

The UKRMP has been established by the MRC, EPSRC and BBSRC to build on existing investment in centres of excellence in disciplines such as stem cell biology, medical imaging, tissue engineering and manufacturing science. It will focus on early-stage translation to complement the Technology Strategy Board Catapult, which will work in the later stages of product development and delivery of cell therapies to the clinic.

Colin Miles, Head of Strategy Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy for BBSRC, said: "BBSRC is committed to ensuring cross-disciplinary research into the underpinning processes and mechanisms that open doors in regenerative medicine. This new strategy highlights the importance of these vital insights and how this fundamental knowledge provides a building block for delivering the regenerative therapies of the future."

The Strategy for UK Regenerative Medicine was informed by consultation with opinion leaders in the field through a, 'Forward Look' workshop, jointly hosted by the four Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board, which reported in September 2011.

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information contact Hannah Isom, Senior Press Officer, Medical Research Council, tel: 0207 395 2345, email: press.office@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk.

About MRC

For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council (MRC) has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century. www.mrc.ac.uk

About EPSRC

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

About ESRC

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2011/12 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. More at www.esrc.ac.uk

About the Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. www.innovateuk.org

About BBSRC

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk .
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes .