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The Medical Sciences Division has been awarded £237,000 from the Medical Research Council Proximity to Discovery (P2D) Fund, up from £150,000 in the last round. This block grant aims to support activities that build relationships between the university and industry partners, and promote a culture of innovation. It also aims to promote interaction that may lead to MRC CiC applications. We would actively encourage applications for innovative and ambitious projects from teams across the Division.

Predominantly the scheme supports staff exchanges with industry. Funds would be available to cover travel, subsistence and accommodation costs. 

Currently the fund supports a range of activities across the Division including the Industry Experts in Residence Scheme. The Division has also focused this fund to supporting the development and dissemination of innovative and disruptive technology platforms including: gene editing, single cell handling, iPSCs and microscopy. We support training workshops involving industry and interaction involving potential co-development of the technologies and novel applications in biomedical research. 

We would actively encourage applications for innovative and ambitious projects from teams across the Division.

strategy 2018-2019

Technologies for Therapies

As scientific research becomes increasingly technically sophisticated and specialised it is more important than ever to ensure continuing inter-disciplinary collaboration to allow these disruptive technologies to be applied to healthcare research. One of Oxford’s key strengths is our multi-disciplinary research base and we believe that there is huge potential to act as a forum to promote closer collaboration with industry partners to drive technological innovation in healthcare research. We encourage applications for ambitious and innovative projects that fit with the strategy below. 

P2D funding will support a concerted programme of industry engagement around cutting edge and strategically important technology platforms, with two aims:

  • to exchange knowledge and skills with industry around novel technological platforms with the potential to drive innovation in therapeutic discovery
  • to develop new and lasting collaborative relationships with key industry partners based on the application of these technologies towards identification of novel therapeutic opportunities.

The technology platforms we will focus on are:

1. Advanced Microscopy

2. Single Cell Handling 

3. Gene Editing

4. iPSCs

For each we will deliver a range of activities that focus on: exchange of technical skills, understanding industry needs and the application of these platforms to drug discovery. Funded activities will include: staff exchanges with key industry partners – both technology and therapeutic companies, AIMdays, training workshops and horizon-scanning minisymposia. 

Funding will also be used to deliver our “Experts in Residence” scheme aimed at embedding industrial expertise in key sectors within our research community.  

Finally, funding will be allocated through open calls for innovative industry engagement opportunities, which enables us to respond to new and innovative opportunities from within our academic community.

Proposals must support MRC-related science areas. Funding is not intended to support staff exchange with University of Oxford spin out companies.


Proximity to Discovery will pay for direct costs only. Costs must be incurred by Oxford, and not by an industry partner. 

Grants must finish by the end date of the MRC award, 31 August 2019. We anticipate small and large applications to this fund.