Three healthcare research programmes will receive a total investment of £208m as part of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UK RPIF) for long-term university projects.
Health-related projects successful in this first round of bids for the fund included a £138m partnership between the University of Oxford and a consortium comprising Synergy Health, Cancer Research UK, Roche Diagnostics, GE Healthcare and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.
This project aims to establish a new centre for targeted cancer research, and will develop, test and implement personalised minimally invasive treatments, combined with targeted diagnosis, imaging and therapy.
The University of Oxford will receive a further £32m to support its partnership with another consortium that includes UCB Pharma, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Boehringer Ingelheim and Takeda and will set up a new centre for drug target discovery and for research based on medical data sets.
Finally, £38m will be available to the University of Dundee to build a new translational research centre, which will aim to increase the speed of development for viable treatments in cancer, infectious diseases, eczema and diabetes. This project has co-investment from the Wellcome Trust and others.
The fund was launched in April 2012, with an initial government investment of £100m, although this was “heavily oversubscribed and received an overwhelming number of high quality bids”, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Universities were able to bid for between £10m and £35m per project, although, in order to obtain this money, these institutes had to match the funding by at least double from private companies or charities – something achieved by both Dundee and Oxford.
An extra £200m worth of funding has now been added by the government on top of the already announced £100m, widening coverage from the fund, which also covers industries such as engineering and mobile communications.
According to BIS, the overall investment from industry, university and government is expected to top £1bn and the fund has now reopened for further bids.