What is translational research?
Translational research (TR) is a highly interdisciplinary continuum, which accounts for the research process from basic science through to the healthcare delivery of this research. Successfully navigating the TR continuum will ultimately result in your research having the largest impact on healthcare at a population level. The result may be new therapies, tests, equipment, software and medical devices. Whilst often represented as a continuum, the process of TR is often not a linear or uni-directional.
The challenges lie in the fact that TR is very multifaceted, requiring input from multiple sources and specialities. Gaps in this process can crop up at any time and these challenges may be internal or externally imposed. For example, professional unawareness, funding, regulatory bodies and communication restrictions.
EUREKA is an international institute which was built to catalyse the growing need for successful translational medicine to address unmet medical demands. The aim of EUREKA is to build and a foster a global community of translational medicine professionals for the tangible benefit of patients and society as a whole. This occurs through education, community building and research.
The three UCL NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (UCLH Hospitals, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital) are partners of EUREKA. As such UCL sends two delegates each year to the prestigious EUREKA certificate course in Sicily, Italy. Applications to apply opening in October each year. For Masters and PhD students there is the support to attend the EUREKA summer school in Utrecht each year.
In addition to these international courses, there are practical Translational research educational events through the year held at UCL, modelled on EUREKA and taking into the account the challenges of Translational research.
All of these courses, both international and at UCL, train a cadre of future leaders in translational research – equipping them with the transferrable technical and personal skills to accelerate their careers including training in intellectual property, clinical and pre-clinical studies, regulation and leadership.
The EUREKA network at UCL BRCs extends its collaboration with the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, building an extensive network of EUREKA alumni and support across London and Cambridge.
UCL Translational Research Office (TRO)
The UCL Translational Research Office (TRO) works with investigators, to facilitate the translation of research into healthcare delivery through effective engagement working with industry partners and external funding bodies.
The TRO aims to provide practical help and expertise to investigators to negotiate the hurdles and barriers that are inevitably encountered during the progression from idea to health benefit. The TRO also develops communication strategies with global and national companies and institutions and responds to corporate and academic needs through networking opportunities, tailored partnerships, projects, and brand-building initiatives.
There are three core groups each offering specialised support and advice:
- Translational research
- Industrial partnerships
- Drug discovery
UCL Business (UCLB)
UCL Business is a team of highly experienced business managers who work with investigators across Great Ormond Street Hospital and the UCL Institute of Child Health, to support exceptional research and innovative clinical practice for positive social, health and economic benefit.
- Providing expertise and support in many ways including
- Evaluating innovative ideas and identifying development routes and commercial potential
- Advising on how to protect ideas to enable translational funding or collaboration with commercial partners
- Filing and securing intellectual property rights around new innovations and a advising on intellectual property for grant applications
- Dealing with organisations that can produce prototypes, including (but not limited to) devices, surgical equipment and software
- Negotiating commercial terms with licensees or investors
The long-term goal for researchers collaborating with UCLB is to maximise the impact of translational research innovations for patient benefit.