Science and Technology in Medicine
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Funding research at ISTM
Biomedical research involves a substantial, long-term investment in specialised skills, equipment and facilities. ISTM has enjoyed substantial growth in research project funding in the last ten years, from around £2million per year in 2002/03 to £5million per year by 2013/14. All this funding is won in competition with other universities in the UK and world-wide, for the best scientific ideas with the greatest potential impact on improving human health.
Every year ISTM members work together to attract more resource to enable their work to continue and grow. An important part of this is research in collaboration with industry, in partnership with patients and with the generous support of the public. Click on the tabs below to read more about where the money comes from and what it's spent on.
Core funding for the Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine comes from
- the Higher Education Funding Council for England, approximately £1.2million per year through Keele's participation in a periodic national quality review exercise, and
- the Department of Health, better known as our National Health Service (NHS).
This core funding pays for some academic and clinical staff time for research, and basic support for some infrastructure for patient and laboratory based research. But it is only about 20% of what is needed to pay for all ISTM's projects and clinical trials each year. The graph below shows how grant and contract income for ISTM's research (excluding government support for research training) has increased over the last seven years:
In the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014, ISTM’s submissions in applied biomedical research (to UoA3 Allied Health Professions) achieved a 42% score in world-leading 4* rating, and ISTM’s biomedical engineering research (UoA15 General Engineering) doubled its world leading 4* score. Both units achieved ~90% across the top two ratings 4* and 3*.
Over a decade of the highest ratings, 5 and 5*, in previous UK Research Assessment Exercises has enabled basic, strategic and applied research to take place in a consistently top quality environment, with clear focus and routes into exploitation in bioscience industries and healthcare. In RAE2008 the research facilities were commended as "internationally recognised, excellent standard" specifically noting the University's support for development of the Institute since 2001.
Through its growth in PhDs and peer reviewed grants, ISTM has seen steady growth in its HEFCE ("QR") block grant, which increased +66% for 2015-16.
The greatest growth in ISTM's funding has been from high quality, competitive peer-reviewed grants from the UK Research Councils. The main Councils supporting biomedical research in ISTM are:
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC),
- Medical Research Council (MRC) and
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
In addition ISTM benefits from substantial research-time allocations at the national facilities of the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), valued in RAE2008 at over £500,000 per annum.
Over the last five years, through its partnership with the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and other local hospitals, ISTM's translational and clinical research has benefitted from support from the National Institute for Health Research, including it's specific schemes for:
- Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)
- Invention for Innovation (i4i)
- Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
Another important funder largely supported by the UK taxpayer has been the science organisation The Royal Society which has awarded a wide range of pilot project grants, travel grants and prestigious research fellowships to ISTM's researchers over many years.
ISTM has received substantial charity support over many years, currently just under a quarter of the Research Institute's external research income is from peer-reviewed grants from charity fund-raising and investments.
Long-standing support has come from the Wellcome Trust - over £5million in total - but we also have support from a range of specialised UK medical charities such as:
- Action Medical Research
- Arthritis Research UK (ARUK)
- Association for International Cancer Research (AICR)
- Breast Cancer UK
- British Heart Foundation
- Cystic Fibrosis Trust
- Deafness Research UK (including Action on Hearing Loss/ RNID)
- Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation
- Diabetes UK
- Grand Charity
- Health Foundation
- Henry Smith Charity
- Kidney Research UK
- Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research
- Parkinson's UK
- Stroke Association
- Wingate Foundation
The Institute is particularly grateful for local health research charities that have provided support for pilot projects and new facilities in our research laboratories over many years:
- North Staffordshire Medical Institute, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent
- North Staffs Heart Committee, Stoke-on-Trent
- Guy Hilton Funding Competition, Stoke-on-Trent
- Haywood Foundation, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent
- Institute of Orthopaedics, Oswestry
- University Hospital of North Midlands Charity, Stoke-on-Trent,
- Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital Charitable Fund, Oswestry
These organisations also provide an indirect route through which local private and commercial benefactors have supported biomedical research and built up the areas of excellence for which Keele and UHNM have become well known.
The Institute is also grateful for the financial support it receives from professional medical associations, especially those to which its members belong, such as:
- Association of Clinical Biochemists
- Biochemical Society
- British Association of Dermatologists
- British Neuroscience Association
- British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
- British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine
- Physiological Society
- Society for Endocrinology
- Society for the Study of Human Biology
ISTM is also very grateful to a range of private donors, including patients, their relatives, and family trusts, who contribute funds towards research programmes on diseases such as asthma, cancer and arthritis. Such donors are kept informed of the progress made as a result of their generosity but any desire for anonymity is respected.
In particular ISTM acknowledges the generous support of the family and friends of the late Guy Hilton, after whom the Institute's principal building is named.
Fundraising activities have contributed very valuable sums to research in ISTM, for example from local groups supporting Breast Cancer Research and Parkinson's Disease.
If you would like to donate to any of ISTM's current research, please contact Natalie Lloyd, Head of Development and Supporter Engagement (+44 (0(1782 733003 / email@example.com) or visit www.keele.ac.uk/supportkeele.
The photographs show:
Top right: The Hilton family (centre) with (on left) Faculty Dean Prof Andy Garner, Professor of Paediatrics, Prof Warren Lenney, and (right) Director of ISTM Professor Gordon FernsAbove left: Gwen Lovatt, Carole Bristow and Pauline Callaghan (back) presenting cheques from Parkinson's UK, to Dr Rowan Orme and Dr Rosemary Fricker (front).Above right: Potteries Shopping Centre's breast cancer fundraising cheque presentation outside the Huxley Building on Keele campus, with (left to right) Sandrine Eglizeaud, Potteries Shopping Centre Marketing Manager; Sarah Akhtar, Breast Cancer UK fundraising organiser; Mark Smith, Research Manager ISTM; Gwyn Williams, Professor of Biochemistry; Paul Lancaster, Potteries Shopping Centre General Manager
A vital part of our research funding comes from commercial partners around the world, ranging from multinational pharma to small biomed companies, including our own "spin-outs".
Keele offers Healthcare & Medical Technology Business Support including the Business Bridge scheme for SMEs in Staffordshire. ISTM welcome's industrially funded research students through the MRC/EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine and individual MRC CASE or sponsored studentships.
ISTM's current (2017) commercial contracts and collaborations for industrial research in the bio-medical field include:
- Athersys Inc (Cleveland, USA)
- Charnwood Molecular Ltd (Nottingham BioCity, UK),
- Patara Pharma LLC (San Diego, USA),
- InterMune UK Ltd (Welwyn GC, UK),
- Glaxo SmithKline (London, UK),
- Lucideon Ltd (Stoke-on-Trent, UK),
- Mica Biosystems Ltd (Birmingham, UK)
- NanoTherics Ltd (Newcastle-under-Lyme, UK)
- PneumaCare Ltd (Cambridge UK),
- Wolters Kluwer Health Ltd (Netherlands),
- XenoGesis Ltd (Nottingham BioCity UK).
ISTM is an active member of several European Commission funded international projects (click on the links for more information):
Current European projects are:
- BIODESIGN - a major partnership led by Uppsala University to design rational bioactive materials for tissue regeneration, involving Keele as one of 21 partners over five years
- MAG(NET)IC FUN - a partnership of eight led by Regensburg University in Germany, looking at functionalized magnetic nanoparticles and their application in chemistry and biomedicine, also involving two Keele spinout companies - nanoTherics and MICA Biosystems.
- GENODISC - a 10-partner project led by Oxford University on disc-degeneration linked pathologies: novel biomarkers and diagnostics for targeting treatment, prevention and repair.
- HYANJI SCAFFOLD - a Keele-led exchange programme with Italian and Chinese partners to develop Hyaluronan-based injectable material for tissue engineering.
- IMPROvED - Keele is playing an important part in a large consortium of researchers pioneering a personalised medicine approach to identifying blood-borne biomarkers to tackle pre-eclampsia, the leading cause of maternal death in Europe.
- INFRAVEC - to build research capacity for the implementation of genetic control of mosquitoes, ISTM being one of 29 partners throughout the world.
- EATS - the European Australasian Thysanoptera Semiochemical Network, in which Keele is one of six partners developing thrips management tools.
ISTM's previous European projects included:
- EUROCELL Concerted Action linking ACI clinics around Europe, providing a forum for training, data collection and definition of outcome measures.
- BITES -(Biomechanical Interactions in Tissue Engineering and Surgical Repair) extended this research to generate osteochondral tissues.
- EXPERTISSUES Training Network and Centre of Excellence studying the innate immune response to parasites.
- MYJOINT to create a living bioreactor, by growing a replacement joint in the human back.
- ALEA JACTA Marie Curie Research Training Site for tissue engineering of connective tissues.
- NEMO - a Keele-led Training Network on protective immune modulation.
Internationally, ISTM has current research funding from sources such as the:
- National Institutes for Health, USA, supporting two major projects, on biomagnetic nanoparticles and the development of novel Microwave Tomography for orthopaedic applications.
- Baxter Extramural Research Program, USA - funding clinically-led research on kidney dialysis and cardiac function.
- Cure Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association USA, supporting a monoclonal antibody resource for nuromuscular disease.
Members of ISTM have collaborative research links with over 125 other institutions and companies spanning 35 countries throughout the world. Most of these are actively supported by research grants, networks and research student training links.