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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S023518/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Chemical Biology - Innovation for the Life Sciences
Principal Investigator: Ces, Professor O
Other Investigators:
Woscholski, Dr R Barter, Dr LMC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Agilent Technologies Ltd AstraZeneca UK Limited Diamond Light Source
Exscientia Ltd GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) Heptares Therapeutics
National Physical Laboratory NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Procter & Gamble RebelBio SOS Ventures Investments Ltd Syngenta
The Francis Crick Institute The Rosalind Franklin Institute
Department: Dept of Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2028 Value (£): 6,101,667
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Biological & Medicinal Chem.
Biophysics Chemical Biology
Chemical Synthetic Methodology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals R&D
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel M – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Chemical biology research spearheads the development of novel molecular tools and technologies to study molecular interactions and address life sciences challenges. The impact of these technologies and understanding they unlock is transformative, supporting innovation across the UK economy, in sectors such as healthcare & med-tech, personal care, agri-science, and bio-tech; with a combined annual turnover > £100bn. It further supports the UK knowledge economy by kick-starting a new wave of disruptive SMEs.

With the world population predicted to increase in both number and age, pressing demands are being made upon UK plc. This is leading to the industrialisation of the life sciences with Chemical Biology led molecular tools and technologies being dovetailed with "Industry 4.0" advances in additive manufacturing, machine learning and automation. Chemical Biology will therefore play a pivotal role in innovation R&D pipelines, enabling biological and biomedical research to advance more rapidly towards product development and end-user application, e.g. novel diagnostics and drugs to tackle disease; sensors and agro-chemicals/technologies for crop protection; improved formulations in the personal care sector; and increased understanding of nutrient impact on long-term health through advances in molecular measurement technologies. In parallel these advances will benefit the UK instrumentation science sector.

There is a therefore a pressing need for a new type of PhD graduate able to embrace this industrial revolution of the life sciences, combining the creation of the next generation of molecular tools and technologies with industry 4.0 technologies. The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Chemical Biology: Innovation for the Life Sciences will directly address this skills shortage, by training ~80 PhD students, providing them with the skills to operate seamlessly across the physical/mathematical sciences and life sciences and capitalize upon and drive breakthroughs atthe human-machine interface. Graduates will emerge armed with an in-depth understanding of product development pipelines acquired through first-hand experience of multi-disciplinary translational research and early stage commercialisation. This will enable them to become leaders of technology innovation in academia, industry and healthcare.

To achieve this the CDT is working closely with industry and SMEs to develop new frameworks for training, collaboration and translation within a cohort-based programme, where no student is an island and diversity and equality are promoted at all levels. The PhD students will be supported by one of the largest Chemical Biology communities in the world, the Institute of Chemical Biology at Imperial College London, which brings together over >135 research groups and industry partners. They will also benefit from new innovation habitats designed to unlock student creativity, promote new lean and open innovation models, stimulating knowledge transfer and industry partner engagement, and kick-start their own companies.

This training and research ecosystem will be a catalyst for new state of the art technology development, with each research project at the physical/mathematical and life sciences interface driving the development of new molecular technologies, addressing life science bottlenecks and transforming the path of the life sciences towards industry 4.0. The new bespoke innovative training programme will fuse exciting professional/transferable skills courses with world-class translational research, e.g. including a micro-MBA, science communication training at the BBC, industry placements, ideation and commercialisation competitions, hands-on prototyping, and will also provide a framework for responsible research with students being trained on ethical, societal, ecological and economical aspects of their projects. This will take place through a 1-year master course that seamlessly connects with a 3-year PhD research project.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk