Intellectual property (IP) considerations
The host institute of the successful fellow will need to enter into a research agreement with AstraZeneca within three months of the funding being awarded. Funding shall not be released to the host institute until the research agreement is completed and approved by MRC.
This agreement will formalise arrangements between AstraZeneca and the host institute in relation to the fellow being allocated an industry mentor and accessing other additional benefits from AstraZeneca, such as secondments and access to AstraZeneca training.
Furthermore, the agreement shall cover the ownership and management of intellectual property that is generated by the fellow and be consistent with MICA.
It is expected that, subject to their normal policies, the host institute shall own arising intellectual property generated during the fellowship. Arrangements for protection or exploitation of arising intellectual property shall not prevent the future progression of academic research.
AstraZeneca and the host institute may agree to grant to the other a non-exclusive right to use intellectual property generated during the fellowship (and which it owns) for the purposes of academic (in case of the host institute) or internal (in the case of AstraZeneca) research.
Additional arrangements may be required should the fellow and AstraZeneca agree the fellow may access compounds proprietary to AstraZeneca or should the fellow collaborate with AstraZeneca employees and those AstraZeneca employees contribute to the generation of intellectual property.
In addition, MRC and AstraZeneca recognise the importance of researchers, particularly fellows, being able to disseminate their research results in accordance with academic custom and practice.
Therefore, intellectual property provisions in the research agreement will also not adversely impact the ability of fellows to publish or otherwise disclose the results of their research. Short delays to enable appropriate protection of intellectual property would be acceptable.
‘Advanced therapies’, which include gene, cell and engineered tissue therapies, have been identified as a health focus area in the MRC Delivery Plan (PDF, 5.7MB).
Advanced therapies have the potential to offer treatments for currently unmet clinical needs, and the UK is ideally placed to globally lead due to the strong underpinning research capabilities in academia and industry. For example through:
- the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UKRMP)
- the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator (NATA)
- the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.
To ensure the UK stays at the forefront of this area MRC has ambitions to:
- provide sustained investment in research and development of new advanced therapies and their underpinning enabling technologies
- build critical mass of future leaders
- strengthen partnerships with academic and commercial stakeholders.
The NATA programme, funded by the UKRI Strategic Priority Fund and managed by the MRC, supports multidisciplinary approaches to the development of new genetic medicines.
NATA Hub is a new UK research centre offering innovative approaches across the pre-clinical pathway, from oligo design, synthesis and characterisation, through to in vitro screening and in vivo assessment of safety, distribution, and efficacy.
A £6 million funding opportunity launching in November 2021 will support an international cross-sector consortium to tackle major barriers to safe and effective nucleic acid therapy delivery through the development of novel technologies, platforms and resources. Read further information about the November 2021 nucleic acid funding opportunity.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of innovative medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas:
- cardiovascular, renal and metabolism
- respiratory and immunology.
The company is growing its cell and nucleic-acid therapies portfolio, with the recent launch of the Bioscience Cell department and Oligonucleotide Discovery department.
To support innovative science-led discoveries in advanced therapeutics, AstraZeneca is building academic partnerships with UK researchers, through the Cell Therapy Open Innovation Programme and funding for postdoctoral research associates (PDRAs) and PhD studentships.
Further information about AstraZeneca can be found on the AstraZeneca website. For example, how AstraZeneca is harnessing the power of cell therapy and gaining new insights to broaden therapeutic opportunities of oligonucleotides.
MRC support for research careers
MRC is committed to the training and development of the next generation of research leaders by supporting the breadth of research careers, while attracting a diverse range of people into medical research.
- a flexible career structure
- porosity between academia and other sectors
- scope for training and development at all career stages.
Background to this fellowship opportunity
To complement MRC’s existing initiatives in advanced therapies, for example, NATA and UKRMP, there is now an opportunity to pilot an MRC-industry postdoctoral fellowship initiative with AstraZeneca, specifically focused on the shared research priorities of cell and oligonucleotide therapies.
The proposed initial scale of the scheme is support for 10 postdoctoral fellowships of three years’ duration, with a total budget of £4 million. Funding will support academically-led basic studies focused on research that underpins the development of new cell and oligonucleotide therapies.
Additional benefits to the training and career development of funded fellows include:
- secondments to AZ
- an industrial scientist mentor
- access to the AZ PDRA global cohort
- access to AZ training.
This scheme will:
- extend the collaborations between AZ and leading UK academic laboratories
- support cross-sector working
- contribute to the training and development of future leaders in advanced therapeutics research.
This could lead to:
- further investment from the commercial sector
- high-value employment
- maintaining and growing the UK as a global leader in advanced therapeutics.
CV template (DOCX, 75B)
Guidance for applicants: research disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic (section 126.96.36.199)
MRC data management plan template