Funding received for four research projects in developing countries

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Newton Fund logo

Four projects to be undertaken by researchers at Oxford Brookes in Brazil and Mexico have received funding from the Newton Fund.

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s aim to help with science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of targeted developing countries.

All four projects are excellent examples of meeting the Newton Fund’s objective of science and innovation helping to improve lives, society and understanding in developing countries

Professor Linda King, Pro Vice Chancellor Research & Global Partnerships

Four research teams at Oxford Brookes have recently been awarded Newton Funding to develop partnerships. The four projects are:

  • UK-Brazil Neglected Infectious DiseasesPartnership
    Dr Sue Vaughan, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences (BMS)
  • UK-Brazil Researcher Links scheme
    Dr Dave Carter, BMS
  • UK-Mexico Royal Society Researcher Link scheme
    Professor Robert Possee, BMS and Professor Linda King
  • Brazil-UK Healthy Urban Mobility
    Dr Tim Jones School of Built Environment

The funding is a further example of Oxford Brookes supporting its strategic goal of being “committed to international and world-leading research that is exploited and disseminated for the benefit of our communities.”    

Professor Linda King, Pro Vice Chancellor Research & Global Partnerships, commented: “The strength of research at Oxford Brookes continues to grow and is increasingly global in its scope.

“In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, we found that that 94% of the University’s research is internationally recognised with 59% judged to be of ‘world leading’ quality or ‘internationally excellent’. We’re growing our international collaborations which are having an increasing impact around the world and I am personally looking forward to the partnership work I will be involved with related to gene therapy in Mexico.

“All four projects are excellent examples of meeting the Newton Fund’s objective of science and innovation helping to improve lives, society and understanding in developing countries.”

Over the coming weeks we’ll be focusing on the four Oxford Brookes projects, beginning with Dr Dave Carter’s research.

An award of just over £30k to Oxford Brookes from the British Council UK-Brazil Researcher Links scheme will enable researchers from the UK to attend a workshop in Brazil to develop the research theme Extracellular Vesicles andnon-cellular RNA: roles in health and neglected tropical diseases.

It has recently emerged that extracellular vesicles (EVs - small fatty sacs released by cells) and their cargo of RNA, lipids and proteins help cells to communicate.

Whereas the EV field has advanced in areas such as cancer research and cardiovascular diseases, the benefits of this research have not yet been fully exploited by researchers interested in parasitic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), diseases which are a major burden in Brazil.

The workshop will explore the roles of EVs in normal cells and in disease, and will facilitate the adoption of EV research by the Brazilian community interested in NTDs. It will lead to new cross-disciplinary collaborations that could benefit the population of Brazil by identifying new ways to diagnose or treat NTDs, leading to reduced disease burden.

The economic and social impact will be maximised through academic and industrial collaborations and would lead to increased wealth creation in both partner countries.

Dr Carter commented: "We hope that this workshop will be a forum for scientists spanning different disciplines across the UK and Brazil to explore new ways in which tropical diseases can be better understood, hopefully leading the creation of new therapeutic avenues"

The Newton fund is £75 million each year from 2014 for five years and covers three areas of activity:

  • people- improving science and innovation expertise, student and researcher fellowships, mobility schemes and joint centres
  • research- research collaborations on development topics
  • translation- innovation partnerships and challenge funds to develop innovative solutions on development topics.

Further information on research at Oxford Brookes is available at www.brookes.ac.uk/researchFind out more about the Newton Fund at www.newtonfund.ac.uk