University of Bath

MRC Proximity to Discovery: industry engagement fund

Find out about and apply to the MRC Proximity to Discovery fund, for collaborating with industry in the area of therapeutic innovation.

MRC Proximity to Discovery Fund is exchanging between industry and academic researchers in therapeutic innovation.
MRC Proximity to Discovery Fund is exchanging between industry and academics in therapeutic innovation.

About the fund

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded the University of Bath £89,000, through the 2018/19 Proximity to Discovery (P2D) scheme. This is for early engagement and knowledge exchange between industry and academic researchers, in the area of therapeutic innovation.

The fund will enable the University to be proactive in developing opportunities for collaboration with industry. It also allows greater flexibility to respond quickly to opportunities when they arise. The University will be organising academic-industry workshops and events and running a knowledge exchange secondment scheme with these funds.

See the Bath Centre for Therapeutic Innovation for our upcoming workshops and events.

P2D knowledge exchange secondment scheme

The University strategically aims to continue to “deliver research excellence by extending our collaborations to provide fresh perspectives and create new opportunities”.

The P2D scheme will enable academic and industrial partners to work in the same location on a shared research challenge. Knowledge exchange secondments are an excellent approach for both the academic and industrial researcher to maximise their network of contacts within a partner institute. This provides quality time to develop new ideas and potentially access new models or facilities.

Applications are invited for knowledge exchange secondments in any area of therapeutic innovation. Priority to will be given to the following three areas:

  • target validation and drug discovery
  • drug delivery across biological barriers
  • biomarkers in disease and diagnostics

There will be three streams to the knowledge exchange secondment scheme. These are:

Early career research exchange

To promote and encourage postdoctoral researchers, early stage independent research fellows or PhD students to engage with industrial partners through one- or two-way knowledge exchange secondments. This is a bespoke scheme for early career researchers that will include an experienced academic mentor at the University of Bath to help develop the industrial relationship and provide mentorship support during the secondment.

Academic secondment in industry

This is open to all lab-based academic staff for a short one or two-way placement with an industrial partner to develop the initial stages of a collaboration. These placements will help to exchange knowledge, develop new skills or provide access to new facilities to generate data towards a long-term partnership.

Commercial Awareness Exchange

This supports the exchange of University staff (including those in technical positions and in Research and Innovation Services) and industrial partners to increase the understanding of each other’s business approach.

Important things to note for your application are:

  • applications with new industrial partners will be prioritized in the scheme
  • exchanges can take place with UK and overseas industrial partners
  • exchanges should not exceed 6 months
  • funding will only be provided for the academic partner and costs directly associated with hosting an industrial partner in the University setting

There will be opportunities for two-way people exchange, for those best placed to benefit and promote continued collaboration (whether principle investigator, research assistant or associate, technician, fellow or student). This will involve spending time at the industrial partner or research organisation.

Knowledge exchange application process

If you are applying, you will need to prepare a plan and time schedule of how your funding would help achieve the aims of P2D. This application should be kept short, but give enough information to show how the secondment will meet the P2D funding criteria.

Complete our application form and see our guidelines.

The call for applications is now open.

Deadlines will take place between April and October 2018.

The next deadline is 19 October 2018.

Future deadlines will be displayed on this website when the current call closes.

Decisions on secondments will be made by the Bath P2D selection panel, made up of the following members:

  • Dean of Science
  • Senior academic representatives from Science, HSS and Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical representative
  • Expert patient
  • Clinical partner
  • Post-doctoral researcher
  • Research and Innovation Services representative

Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • aligning with the remit and strategy of the MRC
  • addressing an important unmet medical need
  • clear and SMART objectives for the project (SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound)
  • clear and beneficial impact for both partners in participation
  • the benefit identified is both realistic and likely to be delivered by the activities described
  • clear plan for collaboration/relationship to continue (in any form) after the secondment
  • resources applied for are appropriate and fully justified

Potential secondments should be discussed with RIS prior to submission of your application form.