Fostering translational clinical research via industry partnership

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has partnered with AstraZeneca to provide six MRC clinical fellows with one-year industry placement opportunities.

Partnering with academic clinicians is essential for any clinical trial research, and helps ensure that trials translate into current clinical practice and remain focused on the needs of patients.

However, in the UK, the number of academic clinicians within the health system is predicted to decline. This trend could make future clinical research more challenging.

As part of our commitment to fostering translational clinical research in the UK, MRC is partnering with the AstraZeneca on one-year industry placement opportunities within their BioPharmaceuticals Research and Development (R&D) business.

Strengthening ability to lead translational clinical trials

The aim of this scheme is to provide clinically active healthcare professionals currently funded by MRC the opportunity to embed within a major pharmaceutical company. This opportunity will help them build their experience of the regulatory and clinical processes involved in developing new medicines, therefore strengthening their ability to lead translational clinical trials in the future.

The partnership supports career development by fostering skills and knowledge in good clinical practice, equipping individuals to lead translational clinical trials in either an academic or industry environment.

This will provide long-term benefits to the UK clinical trials and research landscape and support the development of new medicines.

Supporting development of future therapeutics

Dr David Pan, Head of Programme, Training and Careers at MRC said:

This new partnership with AstraZeneca provides an exciting opportunity for MRC clinical fellows to gain knowledge and experience of the regulatory and clinical trial process involved in the development of new therapies.

Overall, it will provide a closer link between clinical academic research and the commercialisation of discoveries to provide long term benefits for both sectors and help to support the development of future therapeutics.

Building towards research leadership

Jacqueline Hall, Head of Early Careers, BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said:

This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen the future talent pool and wider scientific skills environment in the UK. This partnership brings new experiences and perspectives into AstraZeneca and enables the fellows to deploy new skills and build towards their research leadership.

Strengthening the connections between industry and the UK research community has enormous mutual benefits for academia, industry, the health system and ultimately, patients.

Bringing fresh and innovative talent

David Howe, Head of Clinical Development, Neuroscience, said:

We are committed to strengthening STEM skills in the UK, and this new partnership with the MRC represents an important part of our wider approach to early careers. We hope to bring fresh and innovative talent into the organisation and strengthen translational research capabilities both within AstraZeneca and beyond.

Read more about the fellows on the AstraZeneca website.

More clinical academic industry partnerships

MRC is further boosting clinical academic careers and equipping researchers to move between sectors with a new MRC Medicines Development Fellowship programme. It will strengthen interactions between academia and industry to deliver world-class medicines development by supporting four predoctoral fellows and the development of four new, five-year clinician scientist fellowships.

The programme is led by the University of Liverpool in partnership with Queen Mary University London, University of Glasgow, The University of Manchester.

It is co-funded and supported by two major pharmaceutical companies, GSK and AstraZeneca, in addition to a data science company, Optum UK, and Hammersmith Medicines Research, the UK’s largest clinical research organisation.

Read more about it on the University of Liverpool website.

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