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What Translational Funding is and how The Data Lab can help you access it

Posted on May 08, 2019

  • SBRI funding competition is now open: Artificial intelligence-supported early fracture diagnosis
  • Innovate UK’s Smart awards call is now open for applications

The Data Lab can support you in applying for funding sources like these: read on to find out more.

Translational funding, such as grants, can be used to bridge the gap in development between early stage technology resulting from university research, and its commercialisation, usually known as the valley of death. In the UK, we are fortunate to be able to access a wide variety of funding streams that enable translational research.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the organisation that brings together the seven Research Councils [1] and Innovate UK. The aim of translational research is to drive innovation, speed up the transfer of the best ideas into new interventions, and improve the return on investment in fundamental research. UKRI works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.

What exactly is translational research?

In life sciences and medicine for example, it can be characterised as effective translation of new knowledge, mechanisms, and techniques generated by advances in basic science research into new approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. This has the potential to transform research from “bench-to-bedside”, delivering new treatment options for patients. For this area of research, the interface between basic science and clinical medicine, the end point is the production of a promising new treatment that can be used clinically or commercialised.

What are the benefits to you?

For academics, you get access to different sources of funding – like Innovate UK, and the possibility of industry funded collaborations.You can access different science, knowledge & new ways of thinking. You might be able to access technologies and development capabilities that are not present in your university or institute, enabling the rapid development of new applications or technologies. As a company or SME, you get access to Key opinion leaders (KOLs), academics and experts who have a deep knowledge of a specialised field. For translational research, collaboration is key to facilitate the development of a strategy for knowledge exchange to identify potential applications of academic research. Collaborations are also a means by which companies can get early access to developing technology.

Innovate UK’s Smart awards

Innovate UK’s Smart awards call is now open, this call accepts applications from any area of technology, including arts, design, media or creative industries, science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy. Innovate UK will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing, innovative or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation. Each collaborative project can access up to £2M in funding. All proposals must be business focused.

How we can help

The Data Lab can act as a catalyst to help you secure further sources of funding from external sources such as Innovate UK, the European Union and the UK Research Councils. Resources will be provided to support grant writing with a focus on helping SMEs and Scottish-based organisations access larger sources of external funding enabling them to expand their R&D activities. The Innovate UK’s Smart awards call is open now and closes on the 24 July 2019. Please contact diane.harbison@thedatalab.com to see how we can help you with your project.

And if you are still not convinced about why you should be applying for translational funding, a report from Thomson Reuters demonstrates that industry/academic collaborations result in publications that are more impactful than publications from industry or academia alone.



[1] Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council and Science and Technology Facilities Council

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