John Savill - MRC Open Council Meeting 2011


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Cardiff July 2011

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  • This is our mission as reproduced from our Royal Charter. In the third point, “and worldwide” is added to reflect that the MRC leads on global health research.
  • The total spend in 2009/10 was £698,191 which also includes overseas, international subscriptions and central expenses. The percentages shown are the percentage of this total spend. Therefore the figures for England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland do not add up to 100%.
  • Public sector Overall science budget maintained in cash terms MRC expenditure maintained in real terms QR funding through HE funding councils ring-fenced Charity sector Charities remain committed to funding medical research Expect research spend for 2010/11 to be about the same as 2009/10 Industry Private sector investment in scientific R&D is dependent on a strong public sector
  • The vast majority of MRC funding in Wales is to Cardiff University. Swansea has 4 quite small grants and one fellowship, Bangor has one live grant. All 3 universities have application success rates below average. No MRC funding at any other Welsh HEIs. Cardiff MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics has partnership funding from NISCHR to increase capacity by supporting clinical scientist to become competitive for training fellowships. SARTRE is the Severnside Alliance for Translational Research, started in 2009 with MRC funding of £1.9m, plus support from Bristol & Cardiff universities and the Welsh Government. It was selected as one of the pilots for the Devolved portfolios for DPFS and 16 projects have been funded. MRC/University of Bristol Centre for Synaptic Plasticity has been running since 1999 and was one of the earlier MRC Centres. MRC Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology (George Davey Smith) started in 2007 George Davey Smith also now PI on ALSPAC, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (formerly Pregnancy & Childhood) also known as “Children of the 90’s” – cohort study of children born in 1991 and 1992. Jointly funded by MRC and the Wellcome Trust. Exeter clinical trial is of Collaborative care for depression – PI Professor D Richards, £1.8m Plymouth clinical trial is of Cannabinoid use in progressive inflammatory brain disease - PI Professor J Zajicek, £2m
  • Strategy Board: Sets top-level strategy, budgets and special initiatives Research Boards: Funding projects, programmes, units, assessing performance, strategy development and implementation Overview groups: Steering delivery and strategy, cross-board monitoring Executive Board (not pictured) ensures delivery Also not pictured: Wider cross-funder initiatives.
  • Partnerships are key: We can achieve more when working with others A great deal of research is now conducted on a scale that is not achievable by a single funding body or country, for example, large facilities such as Research Complex at Harwell.
  • Useful point to make here is that MRC has a UK-wide remit but NHS research funding is devolved, and we recognise the importance of our links with the devolved administrations to ensure join up between the two arms of funding for medical research. Although this slide shows policy links with the devolved administrations going via OSCHR, we recognise the importance of maintaining a direct dialogue with the devolved administrations to make sure we understand their science strategies and where we can most effectively work in partnership. This would be the place to mention the meeting over lunch with Welsh ministers in the new Government and say how useful we found the meeting and thank Tony Jewell and NISCHR staff very much for their help in setting it up. We maintain our links via membership of the NISCHR advisory Board as well as via OSCHR.
  • Comment here that MRC funds the EME programme and welcome the recent agreement reached between NISCHR and NIHR that gives Welsh researchers access to this programme
  • Informatics research is a strength in Wales
  • MRC will lead a 10 partner funding consortium with the health departments, research councils and major charities MRC, ESRC, EPSRC, NIHR, Scotland, Wales, Wellcome, CRUK, Arthritis Research UK, BHF – with a budget of approx £15m for 5 years. Anticipate funding in the vicinity of 5 centres across the UK. Focus of each will vary across eg diseases areas Initiative will be launched in the next couple of months
  • Regenerative Medicine: an interdisciplinary approach to repair, replace and/or regenerate damaged tissues & organs. Spans many disciplines : stem cell biology, tissue engineering, gene therapy, cellular therapeutics , biomaterials (scaffolds and matrices), nanoscience, bioengineering and chemical biology State of play at earliest stages, but 350 corporations worldwide developing RM products, 40% in clinical development current emphasis is on autologous therapies, with minimal manipulation (ie bone marrow cells, skin etc) Autologous cell therapies already undergoing clinical trials for the repair of cardiovascular, bone/joint, eye, kidney, neurological disorders typically using patient bone marrow cells (or limbal SCs in the eye), processed in the lab to generate specific cell types for transplantation results have to date been largely been unconvincing.   Allogenic cell therapies hES or progenitor cell derived therapies, with potential for much broader use dependent on the use of immune suppression (as in organ transplants) or donor matching (as in bone-marrow transplants) first targets for hESC/neural SC clinical trials spinal repair (Geron US, phase I study underway) Ophthalmology - AMD (UK-lead through UCL/Pfizer, also in US) stroke (ReNeuron – Glasgow phase I study) MRC funding: MRC is the main UK funder of stem cell research (~1/3 in total), covering basic stem cell biology, translational research and early phase clinical trials as well as infrastructure and training. £ 38m spend in 2009/10 with ~ 60% directed to adult stem cell research (there is sometimes an accusation of an hESC bias). Broader figure for regen med not available, but for example, two regen med / biomaterial-based projects in bone repair funded through the DPFS scheme. For the Cardiff / SW audience, MRC’s major investment is to the neural repair group of Steve Dunnett , ( MRC programme and several awards towards developing SC-based therapies for PD and HD) Continued investment in the area recognised in the MRC Strategic and Delivery Plan (2011/12 to 2014/15). Partnership is key, and in the UK MRC works with the other RCs, TSB charities, and Govt depts, via the UK Funders Forum. Internationally, MRC chairs the International Stem Cell Forum & has bilateral initiatives with California and China. Phase I (2003-7) – MRC contributed £29m towards a £40m cross-Research Council initiative addressing stem cell biology, infrastructures, capacity building. This funded stem cell biology projects UK Stem cell bank: the world’s first hESC stem cell bank Support for embryo donation/GMP facilities (with DH) funding for capacity building PhDs Phase II (2008-11) - £17m new funding for translational stem cell research Established Translational Stem cell Research Committee (TSCRC) - s ince its launch in 2008 the Committee has awarded £21.6m through its response mode funding route and targeted initiatives. Targeted calls to support human iPSC research, GMP hESC lines, CIRM and BHF partnerships £1m for MRC Clinical Training Research Fellowships in stem cell research Phase III (2011-14) – overall target spend of £130m Continued investment through the Boards and TSCRC Charity, industry, international partnership opportunities to be pursued TSB partnership i) tools and technologies joint call (MRC contribution of £2.5m to £8m call with BBSRC and EPSRC) and ii) support for the TSB TIC process trauma research (developing partnership with MoD) Challenges: interdisciplinarity – need for biologists, bioengineers, material scientists etc to work together predictive animal models to test functionality and safety potency - which cells, how many, mode of action controlling transplant rejection (immunotolerance) new tools & technologies – cell culture, tracking, delivery etc bioprocessing and GMP production: quality, stability, reproducibility regulatory uncertainty: phase I trial design (in patients); level of monitoring and follow-up? new business models needed for commercial development ethics / acceptability Forward look: The Research Councils (MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC) and TSB are undertaking a joint Forward Look in Regenerative Medicine to produce a coherent set of priorities for research and a roadmap for future activity. It is anticipated the Forward Look / Strategic Plan will be published in late 2011. The Forward Look will draw upon the findings of the Government (BIS)-led Regenerative Medicine Stock-Take (to be published imminently), which is seeking to assess the state of play in light of progress since the 2005 Pattison (UKSCI) report. A joint RC-TSB agenda should ensure the optimal alignment of the academic and industry sectors in this area to ensure continued impact at the international level
  • Neuroscience & Mental Health are strategic priorities (reflected in the delivery plan). Spend already increased 50% from 05/6 to £155m in 09/10 NMHB budget further increased 17% this FY reflecting strength of Neuroscience in UK portfolio (note: recent THES/Thomson Reuters review of publication outputs in neuroscience and behaviour ranked England, Scotland and Wales in positions 1, 4 and 13 out of 68 nations) Initiatives reflect key areas of unmet need Emerging scientific opportunity re better mechanistic understanding of mental health and neurodegenerative disorders Cross-disciplinary working and engagement with industry is key to delivery in all these areas MRC centres include Bristol - Synaptic Plasticity & Cardiff – Neuropsychiatric Genetics– highlight funding support of the Welsh Assembly for the Centre Neurodegeneration MRC review 2008 had 3 central recommendations: Strengthen biological research into disease origins and mechanisms Improve training and critical mass Form strategic co-ordinated network to address main barriers to progress in field Recognition that many neurodegenerative disorders share common mechanistic pathways; an opportunity for innovative approaches to new therapies MRC/WT initiative (2009)awarded £16m to 3 collaborative programmes for mechanistic research in AD, PD & MND . (Note: Graham Collingridge is a PI on the Cambridge-led AD consortium) Mental Health MRC Review (May 2010) identified priority areas, strengths and gaps focusing on four key themes : severe mental illness (primarily psychosis) anxiety and depression (bipolar disorder included in this theme) neurodevelopmental, learning and intellectual disabilities; pathways to mental wellbeing. £8m strategic funding available over next 3 years in : Experimental medicine - £3m call to pump-prime / build capacity Capacity building - £2m call (MRF funding) for a flagship Clinical Graduate Research Training Scheme Data sharing/secondary analysis - £1m call for funding - linking data from different cohorts to study aetiology of MH and wellbeing Population science – future work to scope a call for a new cohort in the general area of neurodevelopmental disorders Addiction Following Strategic review in 2009, MRC led initiative (covering alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs & problem gambling), in collaboration with ESRC, has already invested £6.5m through 3 dedicated calls. PET imaging A key translational tool in neuroscience (different to cancer and cardio where PET is primarily for diagnosis) £1.6m awarded to 3 centres for capacity building in neuro PET in 2009/10 MRC has brokered engagement of academic/industry groups with regulators to address barriers New national PET hub recently announced at Imperial/CSC Brain banking £3.5 m spent to date, UK network established under MRC director (James Ironside, Edinburgh) Continued support for MRC-funded brain banks with rationalisation and alignment, plus promotion of best practice ‘ Healthy Control’ bank funded in Oxford in 2011 COEN launched June 2010 Founding partners: MRC, DZNE (Germany), CIHR (Canada); additional partners: EWI (Belgium), HRB/SFI (Eire), MoH (Italy) Aim is to build productive links between research groups within recognised CoEs in neurodegeneration £5m joint call addresses the need to adopt common methodologies, share research materials and resources, and enhance data sharing. Focus: animal models, biomarkers, clinical imaging: funding decisions July 2011 Joint Programming JPIs represent a new EU policy instrument – the aim is to achieve voluntary alignment of common strategic research agendas between Member States. They are not an EC funding vehicle. May have impact for FP8 discussions – hence MRC’s interest in influencing the development of this initiative JPND involves 23 countries, and spans biological research through to healthcare and social issues. Its Strategic Research Agenda aims to create a shared vision of research priorities and a framework for future investment and collaborative working led by MRC, to be delivered by end of 2011 Underpinned by a mapping exercise of key EU-wide research programmes, resources and infrastructures – future web resource for the research community (will provide a UK research map) First joint call launched looking to link clinical centres in biomarker research – €15m available though JPND partners, MRC to fund UK-based research within EU- consortia (up to €0.75m total)
  • John Savill - MRC Open Council Meeting 2011

    1. 1. MRC Open Council Meeting 2011 John Savill Medical Research Council 12 July 2011
    2. 2. <ul><li>Encourage and support high-quality research with the aim of improving human health. </li></ul><ul><li>Produce skilled researchers. </li></ul><ul><li>Advance and disseminate knowledge and technology to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness in the UK and worldwide. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote dialogue with the public about medical research. </li></ul>MRC mission
    3. 3. <ul><li>Encourage and support high-quality research with the aim of improving human health. </li></ul><ul><li>Produce skilled researchers. </li></ul><ul><li>Advance and disseminate knowledge and technology to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness in the UK and worldwide. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote dialogue with the public about medical research. </li></ul><ul><li>Work with industry to drive economic development </li></ul>Post-CSR10
    4. 4. MRC regional spend 2009/10 Wales Grants £7.1m Studentships £1.7m South West England Grants £12.3m Studentships £2.3m <1 1.5 N Ireland 1 9 Wales 9 66 Scotland 76 531 England % of total spend 2009/10 £m
    5. 5. 2010 Spending Review <ul><li>Overall UK science resource budget maintained in cash terms at £4.6 billion a year </li></ul><ul><li>MRC research spend maintained in real terms </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment budget £375m per annum </li></ul><ul><li>MRC capital figures from 2012/13 to 2014/15 are indicative </li></ul><ul><li>Not shown: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depreciation and impairments (total £188m over the four-year period) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capital contributions earmarked for the MRC LMB and the Francis Crick Institute </li></ul></ul>£124m £31m £31m £29m £33m £135m Capital Resource £575m 2014/15 £546m 2010/11 baseline £2,217m £560m £546m £536m Total 2013/14 2012/13 2011/12
    6. 6. Current major MRC investments in Wales and South West England <ul><li>Cardiff University </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 MRC Centre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SARTRE (Cardiff/Bristol) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programme grants in immunology and infections, neurosciences, vision and public health </li></ul></ul><ul><li>University of Bristol </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 MRC Centres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ALSPAC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programme grants in neurosciences, public health and ageing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Universities of Southampton, Exeter and Plymouth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>trial grants in mental health and neurosciences </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board MRC strategy and delivery Strategy Board Population and Systems Medicine Board Infections and Immunity Board Neurosciences and Mental Health Board Population Health Sciences Group Translational Research Group Global Health Group Training and Careers Group Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme Methodology Panel
    8. 8. Partnership working MRC MRCT NIHR Patients and carers UK Government Departments OSCHR Medical charities Parliamentarians Policy-makers Industry International Public Research Councils Research community Universities NHS Learned societies UK Clinical Research Collaboration Technology Strategy Board
    9. 9. Coordinated public sector health research strategy NIHR MRC HM Treasury DH Devolved Administrations Funding flow Policy input BIS OSCHR Research
    10. 10. Current focuses of MRC activity Discovery and exploratory research Application and delivery research MRC lead NIHR lead Pharmacogenomics Animal/human models Regenerative medicine Genetics/genomics Structural biology Imaging Systems medicine Global health Ageing: life course Stem cells Infections Population science Experimental medicine Methodology Global health Stratified medicine Public health E-health HTA Trials EME Trials (Late stage III) Programmes in Applied research Research for Patient Benefit Invention for Innovation Service Delivery and Organisation CSO (Scotland) NISCHR (Wales) HSCNI (Northern Ireland)
    11. 11. <ul><li>Huge scope for research linking health-related records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Between routine datasets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To primary research data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MRC-led mapping exercise on behalf of major funders to review UK capability in e-health informatics research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to build skills in complex data linkage and analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MRC-led call for centres in e-health informatics research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10 funding partners </li></ul></ul>Building sustainable skills in e-health informatics research e-health
    12. 12. e-health informatics research centres e-health informatics research centres e-health
    13. 13. Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine <ul><li>Approaches </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>transplantation: stem cells, progenitors or tissue </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>stimulation of dormant repair processes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cells as delivery vehicles: genes, cytokines, small molecules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>engineered cells / synthetic biology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>MRC Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Maximise competitiveness and impact by: </li></ul><ul><li>Giving a high priority to fundamental stem cell research </li></ul><ul><li>Furthering translation </li></ul><ul><li>Building further capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Developing joint strategies for academic industry collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Develop partnerships with other funders (UK & abroad) </li></ul><ul><li>Next stage: MRC-led Forward Look to be published late 2011 </li></ul>
    14. 14. Neuroscience & Mental Health <ul><ul><li>Major initiatives: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Neurodegeneration and dementia </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mental Health </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Addiction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underpinning support for: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brain banking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PET imaging </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Partnerships: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (COEN) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EU Joint Programming in Neurodegeneration (JPND) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. The Francis Crick Institute <ul><li>MRC, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, University College London </li></ul><ul><li>Due to open 2015 </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific Vision and Research Strategy published: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Its goal will be to understand the basic biology underlying human health, driving forward better treatment and prevention of the most significant diseases affecting people today.” </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul>