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The Medical and Life Sciences Translational Fund (MLSTF) is open to all University of Oxford researchers and provides consolidated internal proof of concept funding for translational medical and life sciences projects.

The MLSTF supports proof of concept projects at the earliest stages of translational research. It funds researchers to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach. Funding is also available for other additional support initiatives on existing projects, including market analysis.

The MLSTF is a consolidated fund comprising devolved funding from MRC, BBSRC and Wellcome.

The MLSTF Committee, comprising members of the Medical Sciences Division and Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, as well as external members, will allocate funding to successful projects from across the University.

REMIT

Projects proposed should broadly be in the scientific remit of MRC, BBSRC and/or Wellcome. Projects should aim to provide sufficient preliminary data to establish proof of concept, strategic merit in a translational context, or the viability of an approach, i.e. to provide confidence in the underlying concept, before seeking more substantial funding from other sources, such as MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS), BBSRC follow on fund or equivalent schemes from other funders, or from industry. An explicit outcome of the award of MLSTF is that projects should subsequently be strong candidates for external follow-on funding.

Projects must be able to articulate clear development milestones. These milestones will form the basis of a rigorous monitoring process that will take place throughout the project lifetime.

All modalities of therapy and diagnostic including engineering/medical technology and bioinformatics approaches are welcomed. The research areas under which applications have been supported in the past include diabetes, cancer, inflammation, vaccine science, rare diseases, mental health, antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Added to this remit in 2018 are Bioscience for health; Agriculture and food security; Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy.

Applications for interdisciplinary research are particularly welcome; it is anticipated that half of the funding available will be awarded to interdisciplinary projects.

Any academic-industry collaboration supported should follow the principles and policies of a MRC Industry Collaboration Agreement (MICA). If your project involves collaboration with industry you will therefore need to agree heads of terms with any proposed industry partners before submitting your application. Please contact your local Research Services team who will be able to assist with this.

Where the partner is an existing or prospective spinout, there must be a strong and clear case that the proposed project is a new stream of work and not additional development of the initial technology that was licenced to the spinout. It should also be clear that the spinout is the most appropriate company to support this particular project. A clear statement of how conflict of interest will be managed must be included.

COSTING AND MATCH FUNDING

Funding available from MLSTF will be up to £75k per project. Awards will be made from MLSTF for direct costs only.

For projects in the MRC remit, a match contribution is required and therefore the total cost of individual projects can be up to £150k. Funded projects will be required to demonstrate at least 50% matching from another source of the direct costs awarded. Match funding from industry is especially encouraged; it is anticipated that half of the funding available will be awarded to projects able to demonstrate an industry match. Any industry contribution should be costed at 100% FEC or above in line with University policy.

For projects in the BBSRC remit, a match is strongly encouraged but not a requirement. If no match funding is provided, the PI should state clearly in their application why match funding is not appropriate for their project.

Projects are expected to be no more than 12 months in duration and must have a start date that allows project completion in advance of February 2020 (for MRC remit) and March 2021 (for BBSRC remit). Please ensure that your project is scheduled accordingly and that the timeline is appropriate to the objectives and milestones set out.

The funding will not support: entire translational projects; bridging funding or PhD studentships; continuation of normal research grants; and costs relating to protection of intellectual property. Please also note that PI or co-applicant salary is not an eligible cost.

Awards will be managed from the Medical Sciences Divisional Office, on behalf of the University. Applications, scores and reviewer comments may be shared with other internal University panels to ensure maximum value for money.

SOURCES OF FUNDING

The MLSTF comprises funding from:

Applicants are not required to identify the component part of this fund they are targeting, however they are welcome to do so if they feel their proposal fits very clearly with one. The Committee will decide which source of funds to allocate to successful projects and this will be communicated to applicants on award notification.

PIs must be University employees holding a contract of employment and may be hosted by any department of the University. Researchers holding honorary or visiting positions are not eligible to apply. Applicants should clarify their eligibility with their departments, and departmental approvers are required to check eligibility of their applicants before advancing any applications. 

The Committee welcomes applications from Early Career Researchers and applicants seeking to establish independent research careers. 

Awards will be made following a two-stage process. Expressions of interest are invited, and those recommended by the Committee will be invited to submit full applications in a second stage.

All applicants must discuss their proposal with Oxford University Innovation well in advance of submission, who will be able to advise and support on the industry engagement and IP aspects of bids.

Please submit your expression of interest online via the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS)IRAMS Guidance in the form of quick reference guide documents for applicants, departmental approvers and administrators can be found on Research Support pages.

Note that some departments may set an earlier internal deadline so please check with your local admin team and prepare your application in advance of the date advertised above. Applications must be reviewed online by departmental approvers and, where approved, submitted to the Committee for review before the deadline. 

Online application via IRAMS requests information about the principal applicant and any co-applicants or editors, a lay summary, a financial breakdown of your proposal and a case for support uploaded to the IRAMS application system. You must incorporate all requested components of the case for support into one document and upload this in the template provided on IRAMS as a PDF.

A maximum two page Expression of Interest case for support should be appended to the online application form and must include;

  • A 250-word abstract of the proposal requesting MLSTF funding;
  • Project objectives and proposed outcomesincluding information about proposed development milestones and potential next steps following completion of the project to include, for example, sources of follow on funding, plans for commercialisation;
  • A timeline for your project, aligning with milestones to demonstrate that these are realistic both in terms of the objectives set and the time necessary to achieve them; remember
  • A justification for support, explaining how your proposal is aligned with the remit and objectives of the Fund
  • Details of any development of industrial engagement in your project and plans to advance this
  • IP status: Are third parties involved and how will IP be managed with respect to these collaborators? Has the research in this proposal been funded in the past by a third party? How will you manage background and foreground IP? Have you consulted all relevant agreements in advance of submitting your application; e.g. MICA
  • A description of the match funding secured

This fund is currently closed for applications. It is anticipated that a second call will take place later in 2018.

Previous deadlines

12 March 2018: Call opens

23 April 2018: Deadline for Expressions of Interest

Mid May 2018: Outcome of Expression of Interest delivered and full applications invited

25 June 2018: Full application deadline

End July 2018: Final outcome delivered to applicants

For all enquiries please email research@medsci.ox.ac.uk

Chair: Professor Matthew Wood

Secretary: Leila Whitworth

Members: 

Professor Chas Bountra

Professor Antony Galione

Professor Helen McShane

Professor Eleanor Stride

Professor Jane Langdale

Dr Paul Ashley

Dr Maxine Allen

Professor Alex Markham

Dr Trevor Howe

Dr Nicholas Edwards

Dr Andrew McLean

Dr Thomas Hanke

Developing a novel dengue vaccine 

Professor Arturo Reyes-Sandoval (Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine) was awarded funding for his project to develop a new vaccine against dengue fever. Find out more. 

Modulating circadian rhythm disruption

Dr Sridhar Vasudevan (Department of Pharmacology) received funding to investigate a series of drugs which could be used to modulate and treat circadian rhythm disorders. Find out more. 

Developing slow-wave activity saturation as a marker of depth of anaesthesia 

Dr Katie Warnaby (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences) received funding to develop a new technique for measuring depth of anaesthesia in patients. Find out more. 

 

Further funded projects

  • Development of UGGT1 inhibitors as broad-spectrum antivirals: Zitzmann, Nicole. Biochemistry. £36,709.03
  • Development of an adeno-associated viral vectored immunoprophylactic strategy against blood-stage Plasmodium vivax Malaria: Bardelli, Martino. NDM Jenner Institute. £40,200.00
  • Developing small molecule inhibitors for a rare childhood seizure disorder: Yue, Wyatt. NDM, Structural Genomics Consortium. £42,036.00
  • Harnessing the properties of a small compound to improve the efficiency of reprogramming dendritic cells to pluripotency: Fairchild, Paul. Pathology Dunn School. £42,207.39
  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Multiple System Atrophy. Green, Alex. Surgical Sciences. £70,662.00
  • Structure-guided design of FAM83B inhibitors for triple negative breast cancer. Bullock, Alex. NDM. £15,000.00
  • MICA: Reprogramming tumor immunity by targeting tenascin-C: Kim Midwood; Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences; £65,568.80
  • T-cell receptor-like antibodies targeting p53: Alison Banham; Radcliffe Department of Medicine;  £41,490.19
  • Polymer-DNA nanoparticles for Therapeutic Intracellular Delivery: Andrew Turberfield; Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics; £22,506.00
  • Orthotopic colorectal cancer patient-derived xenograft models to test therapeutic manipulation ofGREM1: Simon Leedham; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £75,000.00
  • Structure-Guided Design of Sonic Hedgehog Morphogen Inhibitors: Christian Siebold; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £15,000.00
  • Proof-of-concept controlled human infection with Plasmodium vivax malaria to accelerate Phase II clinical trials of vaccine candidates: Angela Minassian; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £65,000.00
  • How does BCG vaccination facilitate protection against malaria? Milicic, Anita; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £42,803.00
  • CMV-vectored vaccines: second generation vectors with improved safety profile:  Sarah Sebastian; Nuffield Department of Medicine; £22,634.85
  • Development of a novel bivalent vaccine to prevent both Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi infections: Christine Rollier; Department of Paediatrics; £45,223.19
  • Ultrasonic electrospray of intact complexes from vesicles and exosomes: Carol Robinson; Department of Chemistry; £33,835.00
  • Non-invasive estimation of pulmonary blood flow in primary pulmonary hypertension : Peter Robbins; Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics; £40,674.00
  • New approaches to microsphere formulation for single dose prime-boost vaccine delivery: Anita Milicic; Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine; £51,813.00
  • Utilising immune-dominant epitopes of limited variability to create a novel influenza vaccine: Sunetra Gupta; Department of Zoology; £50,421.00
  • Development of UGGT1 inhibitors as broad-spectrum antivirals: Zitzmann, Nicole. Biochemistry. £36,709.03