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Second Call for start-up grants (£25k-£100k) from groups in the Oxford Medical Sciences Division to develop pre-clinical studies in genome editing of haematopoietic stem cells.

The recent development of genome editing using programmable nucleases has already transformed our ability to perform experiments in mammalian cells rapidly, at high throughput and with high precision. The next challenge is to apply this discovery to precisely edit and correct genetic defects in human stem cells in a new approach to the treatment of inherited diseases. With the MRC Discovery Award we aim to address the key preclinical hurdles in achieving this by editing haematopoietic stem cells with the goal of rapidly progressing this knowledge to early phase clinical trials in patients with inherited blood diseases. Using the MRC Discovery Award flexible funding, we aim to bring together the considerable expertise and technical know-how in a wide range of interdisciplinary groups throughout Oxford to address this focused problem. We anticipate that genome editing will ultimately find application in a wide range of human diseases and the University of Oxford is fully committed to support its early development in blood diseases to establish the principles of this approach and the longer term application of this exciting new technology to a broad range of challenges in clinical medicine.

We are now looking to fund start-up grants (£25k-£100k) in the following key topic areas:

  • Development of approaches to identify and quantify “off target” effects.
  • Developing approaches to minimize off target effects
  • Trial design for potential applications of genome editing of autologous haematopoietic stem cells
  • Evaluation of the clinical need for editing of haematopoietic stem cells
  • Evaluating selective advantage of edited cells in vitro and in vivo
  • Direct editing of HSC in vivo

The awarding panel will be particularly keen to receive innovative projects for this call.

How to apply

Please complete the application form and return to by Friday 18 November, noon. Decisions will be communicated by the end of 2016.

The period of funding will initially be from 01/01/2017 to 28/02/2018.

Funding can be used for:

  • Consumables
  • Staff (Staff should be for 12 months maximum, and employment contract finishing no later than 28/02/2018)
  • Small equipment (under £10K)

(Note that Discovery Award pays for direct costs only).

This funding is not intended to support:

  • Continuation of normal research grants
  • Research directed at generating or validating preliminary data for a ‘follow-on’ grant from already established lines of enquiry
  • Administration costs
  • Staff between posts/funding (i.e. as “bridging” funds), or PhD studentships
  • Capital / infrastructure