DPFS Resource request (King s College London)

Abstract

The application of basic medical research results to improve the health of patients is a main goal of modern medical science. In order to do this, it is essential that we identify the best scientific ideas that can lead to the development of novel therapies and improved ways to diagnose diseases and predict the effectiveness of different treatments. The development or translation of these basic discoveries into applications (translational research) is the aim of the MRC?s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS).
King?s College London is committed to translational research and has invested heavily in both staff and facilities to promote and support our activities in this area. Given the strong interest in translational research at King?s, we expect that our scientists will submit a large number of applications to the scheme and that we will have a significant number of funded projects running. The DPFS projects have in-built milestones, which can be used to measure progress of the research, and Go/No Go points where the project can be stopped if the expected progress is not achieved. Most academic scientists have limited experience in such translational, milestone based projects. We are requesting underpinning resources for devolved portfolio support to recruit a member of portfolio support staff to manage the King?s applications and funded projects. A member of portfolio support staff based at King?s will be able to interact with the scientists prior to applying for DPFS grants to ensure that proposals have a strong translational potential with realistic milestones and decisions points. Locally based staff will oversee the King?s projects and assist the scientists with project management. This oversight will allow the progress of each project to be closely monitored to ensure that projects remain on-track and that any potential problems can be identified and remedied at an early stage.
The deployment of King?s based portfolio support staff will benefit both King?s and the MRC. King?s based portfolio support staff will assist applicants in the drafting of their translational proposals and so improve the quality and relevance of applications. Portfolio support staff will therefore benefit both King?s and the MRC by increasing the number of high quality DPFS projects and by maximizing the probability that they achieve their goals or are terminated at an appropriate early stage. A devolved portfolio will also reduce the burden on MRC Head Office of overseeing projects at King?s.

Technical Summary

The effective development of fundamental research findings to deliver health improvements is a key goal for modern biomedical research. This requires the early identification and selection of areas of research that have high potential to be translated rapidly into the development of novel therapies as well as tools for diagnosis and prognosis. King?s College London is committed to translational research and has invested in both staff and infrastructure to promote and support translational research activities. The MRC funded Translational Research Pilot Scheme currently operating at King?s immediately identified nearly 40 projects in only two areas of research (?neuroscience? and ?infection, inflammation and immunity?) that had translational potential. We expect that a much larger number of translational projects will be identified across all Divisions.
In this application we are requesting underpinning resources for devolved portfolio management. We will recruit a member of portfolio support staff to manage the King?s applications and funded projects.
The deployment of King?s based portfolio support staff will benefit both King?s and the MRC. Most academic scientists have limited experience in translational, milestone based projects. King?s based portfolio support staff can interact and mentor applicants in the drafting of their proposals and so improve the quality and relevance of applications from King?s. Locally based managers can also provide close oversight of projects and assist with project management. This oversight will allow project progress to be closely monitored, identify potential problems at an early stage and improve the implementation of any required remedial action plans. Such actions will enhance the probability that any given project will reach its goals and will ensure that Go/No Go decisions are taken as appropriate. Portfolio support staff will therefore benefit both King?s and the MRC by increasing the number of high quality DPFS projects and by maximizing the probability that they achieve their goals or are terminated at an appropriate early stage. A devolved portfolio will also reduce the oversight and governance burden on MRC Head Office.

Publications

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Hughes JP (2011) Principles of early drug discovery. in British journal of pharmacology