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Share of £22.5m funding for Babraham Research Campus and Babraham Institute will support 15 collaborative PhD projects



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Babraham Research Campus Ltd and the Babraham Institute have been awarded a share of £22.5million in funding to support 15 collaborative PhD projects.

The funding covers 2022-28, with the first five PhD students due to be recruited to the programme next October.

Babraham Research Campus. Picture: Babraham Research Campus
Babraham Research Campus. Picture: Babraham Research Campus

The funding, from UKRI-BBSRC, is part of a collaborative training partnership (CTP), which will combine scientific and industry supervision to train PhD students in breakthrough skills and technologies needed by the commercial sector.

They will be engaged in an integrated programme of academic research, bioscience innovation and commercial know-how to prepare them for a wide range of roles.

Derek Jones, CEO of Babraham Research Campus Ltd, which develops and manages the site, said: “The Babraham Research Campus offers a dynamic and supportive community for life scientists and entrepreneurs across academic and commercial research.

“We are excited to partner with the Babraham Institute and welcome a cohort of students who will be able to benefit from our extensive expertise and receive access to unique, world class academic and commercial training opportunities.

Derek Jones, right, with entrepreneurs Andy Richards and Jonathan Milner. Picture: Keith Heppell
Derek Jones, right, with entrepreneurs Andy Richards and Jonathan Milner. Picture: Keith Heppell

“This partnership will not only provide an outstanding experience for our students but also support early stage companies by providing access to on-site, talented PhD students and their academic labs. This investment means that from the start of their careers, researchers will bridge both academic and commercial spheres, being influenced by the best of both sectors to create cross-disciplinary, commercially-aware researchers with a unique in-depth appreciation of innovation.”

Eleven institute research groups will host the students as they undertake their PhDs in partnership with 13 campus companies, over three years.

The students will conduct their research within one of the institute’s three research programmes and spend time working with one of the companies.

The site’s researchers and companies are focused on understanding fundamental biology that underpins health and disease biology, with a particular focus on ageing, immunology, cell signalling processes, genomics, epigenomics, lipidomics, proteomics and imaging.

They are helping to development vital new technologies aiding drug discovery and development.

Karolina Zapadka, head of Accelerate@Babraham, seated, front left, with Allan Marchington, managing director, head of life sciences at Intermediate Capital Group, far left, back row, Derek Jones, CEO, Babraham Research Campus, middle, back row, and Andy Richards, biotech entrepreneur and investor, far right, back row, and the 2021-22 Accelerate@Babraham cohort. Picture: Babraham Research Campus
Karolina Zapadka, head of Accelerate@Babraham, seated, front left, with Allan Marchington, managing director, head of life sciences at Intermediate Capital Group, far left, back row, Derek Jones, CEO, Babraham Research Campus, middle, back row, and Andy Richards, biotech entrepreneur and investor, far right, back row, and the 2021-22 Accelerate@Babraham cohort. Picture: Babraham Research Campus

The students will also shadow the work of early-stage life science ventures on the campus’ five-month bioentrepreneurial programme, Accelerate@Babraham, offering insight into the spin out and start-up process and building commercial awareness.

Dr Simon Cook, interim director of the Babraham Institute, said: “This funding recognises the Institute’s long history of successful collaborations with industry partners, our dedication to supporting PhD students during their studies and our commitment to work with Babraham Research Campus Ltd in the support of innovative early stage bioscience companies. I am excited to be a part of training a generation of researchers who will be primed to produce innovative solutions to human health challenges and pioneer world class scientific discoveries.”

BBSRC executive chair Prof Melanie Welham said: “With the awards we have announced today BBSRC underlines its commitment to work with industry to support the next generation of bioscience researchers.”

The programme is designed to support the government strategy of strengthening the bioeconomy.

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