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2nd November 2018
The Bloomsbury SET awards first £1million to fight infectious diseases

The first three recipients of Knowledge Exchange funding from The Bloomsbury SET have been announced. One is a project led by Professor Joanne Webster at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) to examine the treatment of zoonotic hybrid and livestock schistosomiasis, also known as snail fever, in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been awarded £280,274. Prof Webster is the featured member at LIDC this month, see A second is a study led by Professor Dirk Werling, also of the RVC, in collaboration with Professor Brendan Wren from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), on the development and testing of a vaccine for Streptococcus suis, a disease capable of transmission from pigs to humans, which has been awarded £333,604. The third final grant, valued at £350,776, was given to Professor Tim Allen of the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), and Professor Melissa Parker, of LSHTM, to help fund research into localised evidence and decision-making in the control and elimination of schistosomiasis in East Africa.

Welcoming the announcement of the awards, Professor Claire Heffernan, Professor of International Development and Director at LIDC, commented: “The Bloomsbury SET capitalises on our colleges’ world-leading expertise in infectious disease and supports our ability to transform research into tangible health outcomes for some of the most marginalised and vulnerable populations globally. By supporting early and mid-career researchers, The Bloomsbury SET also offers a pathway for the best ideas to merge into sustainable solutions.”

Dr Ray Kent, Director of Research Administration at the RVC, added: “These prestigious awards are the first in a series that is designed to demonstrate the benefits of connecting together the translational research capabilities of the four partner Colleges in The Bloomsbury SET. The projects funded in the first call for proposals have been selected on the basis of rigorous expert review. We anticipate they will make a significant contribution to the UK’s efforts in the fight against endemic and emerging infectious diseases.”

A call for applications for the second tranche of grants, with an individual value of up to £360,000 each will open later this month with a closing date on 14 January 2019. The Bloomsbury SET is also currently recruiting applicants for its two-year Innovation Fellowships in diagnostics.