In a landmark collaboration, the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Government of India Department for Biotechnology (DBT), have joined forces to fund three major global research centres. Using high quality research teams based in the UK and India, two of the centres will focus on research into antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the other on cancer biology. Nearly £3.5million will be invested by the UK, through the MRC and the Newton Fund, with matched funding provided by DBT.
The centres will take a global perspective in tackling some of the largest global health problems of today and foster the next generation of researchers with specialist skills.
A team of international researchers, from across a number of disciplines, will look to develop new diagnostic tools and new treatments to address the sharp rise in cases of multidrug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The partnership between the University of Cambridge and the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai, India, will generate a rich and lasting clinical and genomic dataset.
This centre will focus on finding solutions to the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics. In partnership with the University of Sheffield, University of Bradford and L V Prasad Eye Institute in India, the new centre will establish smart materials for the detection and targeted delivery of antibiotics for eye infections, and promote the use of these new technologies in other infective diseases.
Cancer is among the leading causes of disease and death worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of new cases will rise by about 70% over the next two decades. This centre will link the MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge with the National Centre for Biological Sciences in India to foster research on cancer biology and therapy in India through collaborative research programmes, translational research and capacity building.
Prof K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology stated:
“The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India is delighted to partner with the MRC in creating research centres which will address vexing challenges in medicine through quality science and collaboration. India is committed to working with the best in the world, for India and for the world. We are acutely aware that the fruits of our partnership can mean better lives for the most- needy everywhere and are committed to make the collaboration succeed.”
Dr Mark Palmer MRC Director of International Strategy, said:
“With a 100-year history of strategic international collaboration, MRC scientists today collaborate with researchers in more than 100 countries. We know diseases don’t recognise international borders and that addressing health problems around the world demands a global response. These exciting partnerships between excellent scientists in India and the UK is a key part of our international effort to pool expertise and resources and deliver research that will make a real difference to global health.”
The Newton Fund is a new initiative which will enable the UK to use its strength in research and innovation to promote the economic development and social welfare of 15 partner countries. The Fund will help countries that are rapidly improving their own scientific capability and will help to unlock further opportunitiesfor science and innovation collaboration.