Translating my research - where do I start?

A female researcher in a lab A key aim of our new research strategy is to ensure that research funded by us and others translates into better prevention, diagnosis and treatment outcomes. 

But developing new drugs, devices and diagnostics is tough. The process is expensive, can be lengthy and is very risky with often unanticipated hurdles. This is why we want to provide support at an early stage to make sure that projects are well designed and have the best chance of success.

We now have a Translational Award, a dedicated team and a large group of advisors with diverse skills and expertise who have spent their careers developing drugs and devices to help you through the process. 

Tapping into our experts’ experience 

Lots of different elements need to come together for a successful translational project, for example, expertise in medicinal chemistry, intellectual property, regulatory pathways, clinical trial design and commercialisation to name a few. We don’t expect you to be an expert in all, or indeed any of these, so this is where our Translational Award Advisors can come in to provide support and guidance.

Informal and iterative process

The application and award process is different to our standard schemes. Broadly, it is a two-stage process where you submit an initial outline, and, if this is successful, you’ll be invited to submit a full application. This application will then be reviewed by your peers and our Advisory Group for its commercial viability. In practice, it’s an informal and iterative process. We work closely with you and our experts via email, phone and face-to-face meetings to improve promising applications and often the finished product is very different from the initial outline. 

Informal interaction between the BHF, applicants and experts in translating academic research is a really good way to progress these awards.

Dr James Leiper
BHF Translational Award holder

Translation is more than a funding scheme

To stimulate dialogue and interactions between academia and the pharmaceutical industry we will hold workshops next year for you to meet cardiovascular experts from industry to better learn how to progress your research. 

Before you apply:

  • Get in touch -  General eligibility criteria can be found here, but we strongly encourage to you get in touch before you submit an outline application to discuss your project. 
  • Contact your Technology Transfer Office -  They will be able to provide essential IP and commercial expertise and help you with the application.

Things to think about when applying:

  • For drug discovery projects, is your target well validated and clinically relevant? 
  • Is your lab best positioned to conduct the work or would it be more efficient to outsource?
  • We don’t just fund science: if a key barrier to overcome for example is to understand the best regulatory pathway or develop an IP strategy, we would consider funding specialist consultants to help with this. 
  • What would your proof of concept clinical trial look like? This may seem like a long way off, but it is vital to consider the entire route to approval and commercialisation for your work and not just what will be funded by this particular Translational Award. 

Find out what our Medical Director Peter Weissberg says about our new Research Strategy