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A major strategic objective of the Medical Sciences Division is to establish the University of Oxford as a world-leading translational medical science environment and the leading innovation environment in Europe. Oxford has a strong record of translating and commercialising its research outcomes, and a highly successful innovation track record via successful technology transfer and business development.

Our Business Partnerships Office, Oxford University Innovation and Research Services offer advice on innovation and industrial partnerships to staff and external organisations. You can find out more about their respective roles here. If you are interested in working in partnership with us, please contact these teams, or visit the University’s Partnerships website.

We have many teaching and research partnerships with the NHS, industry, medical organisations and charities in the UK and across the world. You can explore some examples below. 


Outside the John Radcliffe HospitalWe have been working with the NHS in the Thames Valley region for many years, including a long established relationship with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and in 2013 we signed a Joint Working Agreement with our largest NHS partner, the Oxford University Hospital (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust. Furthermore, our involvement in the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre and the Oxford Academic Health Sciences Network (AHSN) allow us to transcend traditional organisational barriers in order to harness the strengths of industrial, scientific, health-related and academic partners to more effectively address some of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century.

These partnerships offer many tangible benefits:

  • Patients receive high-quality care underpinned by world leading research, often delivered by jointly appointed academic clinicians in co-funded and co-managed specialist units
  • Our medical students gain experience in one of the leading medical centres in the UK, which serves over three million people in the local area in addition to many more national and international patients who are referred to specialist units
  • Through the establishment of the NIHR-funded Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, in partnership with Oxford University Hospitals and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trusts respectively, discoveries in basic and applied biomedical research are translated into improvements in healthcare and medical innovations. The Oxford BRC’s 15 themes cover a broad range of research areas, including genetics, cell therapy, neuroscience, cardiovascular medicine, cancer, as well as the use of digital technology, data and artificial intelligence. Oxford Health BRC has 11 research themes covering mental and brain health. It leads a collaborative network involving 10 partner university and NHS Trusts across England. Together, the two BRCs have been awarded around £125m in government funding to carry out translational research between 2022 and 2027.

Industry Alliance: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk logoIn 2017 the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk established a landmark strategic alliance focused on a collaboration for the advancement of type 2 diabetes research. The purpose of this alliance is to build upon the longstanding relationship between Oxford University and Novo Nordisk by enabling scientists from both organisations to develop stronger and broader collaborations as a result of their close proximity. This partnership will work in the precompetitive space with a view towards developing innovative medicines that positively impact patients with diabetes.

As part of the alliance, Novo Nordisk are investing in the new Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford (NNRCO), which will be co-located in the same building as the soon to be launched BioEscalator on the University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus. By 2021 Novo Nordisk will employ up to 100 Novo Nordisk researchers, who will be based in the NNRCO to work in new state-of-the-art laboratories opening in 2018. The total investment from Novo Nordisk is around 1 billion Danish kroner (115 million British pounds) over a period of 10 years.

The Divisional Business Partnerships Office works in partnership with Novo Nordisk to manage the alliance by supporting the activities of the Strategic Alliance steering board, strategic collaborative projects, Pump Priming awards and individual project leads.

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Spin-out Company: Circadian Therapeutics

Circadian Therapeutics was spun out of the Medical Sciences Division by Oxford University Innovation in 2016. It was established to identify and bring to market pharmaceutical and diagnostic platforms for the effective management of physiological and pathological conditions through their ability to modify the body's circadian rhythms. Today, there are no safe, effective, and fast-acting treatments that provide benefit to patients through modulation of circadian rhythms.To address this, Circadian Therapeutics has identified drug candidates and is looking to study their effects on circadian rhythms in clinical trials.

Circadian’s intellectual property draws on the input of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, the Department of Pharmacology, and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and builds on research supported by Wellcome. The company has raised £2m from Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the capital investor for Oxford University, and will be looking to raise additional money to fuel proof-of-concept studies aiming to improve the lives of those impacted by disrupted circadian rhythms.

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Charity Partnership: Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre

Established in 2010, the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre (formerly the Oxford Cancer Research Centre) is a network and partnership between Oxford University, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cancer Research UK. It harnesses Oxford’s world-leading cancer research with the core aim of facilitating collaboration to ensure rapid translation from scientific discovery to treatments for patients. The ultimate aim of the Centre is to enhance cancer research activity to increase cancer cure rates. The Centre currently comprises over 600 members from 25 different departments, units and institutes of the University as well as the NHS Trust. The partnership provides a cumulative investment of approximately £55m each year for science in Oxford for research to save and improve peoples’ lives.

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