UK invites health research proposals from PH

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The British Embassy is calling on researchers and scientists to submit proposals to the Newton Fund that will meet the health needs of vulnerable communities in the Philippines.

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Two opportunities have opened for health research collaborations between the Philippines and the UK through the Newton Fund, the embassy said.

The first is a 2-million British pounds (P132.6 million) allocation for research on infectious diseases, which has been identified as a priority by the partners Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST PCHRD) and the UK Medical Research Council.

The second call, in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, amounts to a combined 10 million British pounds (P663 million) for five countries in the Southeast Asia region, to fund research studies that contribute to increasing the health and medical research capacity in the Philippines while also providing the opportunity to work with researchers in the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

“We are focusing on infectious diseases research due to mutual interests, strengths and opportunities in this area. Infectious diseases such as dengue and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a continuing burden in the country, especially for vulnerable populations with limited access to adequate health care. Philippine research efforts to find effective solutions could be complemented by working with the best institutions in infectious disease research,” DOST PCHRD executive director Dr. Jaime Montoya said.

The Newton Fund is an initiative by the British Government to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging economies such as the Philippines.
Last month, top UK research institutions including the University of Cambridge, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Nottingham, and the MRC-University of Glasgow, visited Manila to meet and discuss with top Filipino researchers to explore ways to diagnose diseases faster, record and analyze patient data for effective assessment, and discover new drugs for emerging infections.  The UK’s science and innovation pursuits produced life-changing products and the designs from penicillin to the internet, and various healthcare companies continue to invest in R&D facilities in the UK to tap the resource talent available. Through this collaboration, the Philippines could also tap into that talent pool.

More information on the two calls could be found at http://www.mrc.ac.uk/funding/browse/uk-philippines-joint-health-research-call/ and http://www.mrc.ac.uk/news-events/news/wellcome-trust-mrc-newton-fund-collaboration/. Deadline for expressions of interest to join are in June and May 2015, respectively.

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