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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L016044/1
Title: EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science
Principal Investigator: Deane, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Gavaghan, Professor D Bountra, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AstraZeneca Diamond Light Source e-Therapeutics Plc
Eli Lilly and Company Evotec (UK) Ltd F. Hoffmann-La Roche (International)
GE Healthcare GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) Inhibox Ltd
Microsoft Novartis Pfizer
Structural Genomics Consortium UCB
Department: Mathematical, Physical&Life Sciences Div
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 06 October 2014 Ends: 05 April 2023 Value (£): 3,581,670
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Bioinformatics
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Chemical Biology
Genomics Medical science & disease
Statistics & Appl. Probability Theoretical biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel D Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is now clear that biological functions or diseases arise from complex interactive networks operating on many different scales. The translational work needed to transform promising new drugs and therapies into commercial products will increasingly require predictive mathematical and computational modelling at the systems level.

The Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science (SABS) Centre aims to meet this demand by training a new generation of responsive research leaders with the ability to generate and apply novel physical and mathematical techniques to solve research problems of relevance to the pharmaceutical, biomedical, biotechnology and related sectors. SABS will address these industry-relevant scientific questions from the real world, and explore them through genuine academic-industrial collaborations.

SABS will provide training and research across a wide range of areas, including the design and testing of new chemical and biological entities, modelling biological systems, and robust analysis of complex datasets. Such cross-disciplinary work will introduce students to cutting edge organic chemistry, chemoinformatics, chemical and synthetic biology, biophysics, advanced computational simulation, bioinformatics, data mining, statistical analysis, physical and structural study of biomolecules, and mathematical modelling.

Over the last 4 years the SABS team have created a wide network of contacts within Oxford and across industry. SABS will continue to work closely with its partner companies (AstraZeneca, Diamond Light Source, e-Therapeutics, Evotec, GE Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffmann LaRoche, InhibOx, Lilly UK, Microsoft, Novartis, Pfizer, Structural Genomics Consortium and UCB), and with 14+ departments across the University. Every SABS student will be co-supervised and co-funded by industry and will be fully exposed to the industrial context of their research in both the taught programme, and in their industry-based research projects. They will develop skills in project management, strategic planning, leadership, team working, commercial awareness, and problem solving all of which will be required to translate innovations in basic and medical science into commercial product development.

SABS will continue to use its ground-breaking and, currently, unique Open Innovation IP agreement, which allows all participants in the SABS consortium to see the results of all research projects. Participating companies regard it as a trail-blazing model for the future of industry-academia collaboration, because it simplifies inter-company research collaboration within the consortium and improves the existing business process for innovation and academic collaborations. From an academic perspective, it allows the students to participate in impactful industrial research whilst still gaining the benefits of research discussion with their peer cohort.

Oxford University has made substantial investments both in infrastructure for graduate training and all research areas associated with SABS. It actively promotes interdisciplinary research with external collaborators, and is currently investing heavily in the new Target Discovery and Big Data institutes.

SABS has demonstrated very strong user pull, and an ability to recruit new companies; three organisations are currently in the process of joining. In this new bid the companies have doubled their cash contribution per student to £30k, and will also cover all associated research and travel costs (currently averaging £8k per student); a clear commitment to the continuation of the SABS centre. Our minimum cohort size of 14 means industry will make a minimum cash contribution to student funding of £2.1m and a further £560k to research costs.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk