The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has been given a grant of £3.3m from the European Regional Development Fund, to improve product development in the formulation of infectious diseases therapeutics.
The grant, which forms a part of the ERDF allocation to the Liverpool City Region, is a supplement to the £90m guaranteed leveraged funding that an LSTM-led consortium assembled in response to the £18,6m, Strength in Places, grant from UKRI in June.
Project lead, LSTM’s Professor Janet Hemingway, said, “This funding aims to align the best regional science platforms and connect them to a strong and innovative industrial base to deliver new products, which will prevent transmission of infectious diseases agents such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. It will help us respond to disease outbreaks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
The grant comes through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, who work closely with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to make sure ERDF grant applications are in line with LCR priorities.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor, said: “We are very pleased to be able to use ERDF to support the development of one of the city region’s key innovation strengths. This project will establish the critical link in the infection innovation ecosystem between research, industry and manufacturing and overcome those roadblocks that are in the way of successful product development.”
Unilever’s Chief Research & Development Officer, Richard Slater, said: “This year’s events have underlined the pressing need for products that help to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. This grant further supports close collaboration between research and industry, so that we can bring together the best scientific expertise, latest technology and industrial capabilities to develop innovation that will help to protect people for years to come.”
To drive and be effective for local LCR economic growth, the ecology must extend from assessment of market need and product concept to meet the need, through early stage discovery to generation, of any new products with relevance to markets that can be accessed globally.
This programme is designed to engage up to 300 Small & Medium sized Enterprises and network soundly a minimum of 60 regional based SMEs together with the infection-based research and development at LSTM, the Unilever microbiology laboratory at the Materials Innovation Facility and the University of Liverpool’s Surface Chemistry group, in a set-up that will drive the productivity of the SME sector, and increase directly their potential to access markets for any resultant products.
Professor Rasmita Raval, Director of the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces of the University of Liverpool, said: “Anti-infective surfaces are at the frontline of infection control and new surface technologies have the potential to break and contain chains of transmission. This project creates an excellent opportunity to translate our state-of-the-art surface science research into the region’s innovation pipeline and impact on global societal needs.”
SMEs with projects that could benefit from access to the three dedicated Research & Development (R&D) workspaces with the concomitant staff to guide their R&D needs will be able to access the programme via the CEIDR Innovations team from early August.