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St George's has been awarded funding from the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF). The fund enables universities to invest in areas of research relating to medical and clinical sciences, public health, social sciences and medical humanities.

What our Wellcome Trust ISSF funding is being used for 

St George’s research strategy aims to maximise the benefits of our location within St George’s Hospital through the establishment of Clinical Academic Groups and through support of early career researchers. We aim to increase clinical translational input into our basic research and provide stronger basic mechanistic research approaches to our clinical research. 

The Wellcome Trust ISSF activities are designed to promote and embed sustainable change in our institution, leading to long term research impacts. St George’s has a strong record for research impact, and in order to build on this foundation we will continue to catalyse new research areas and develop new centres of research excellence. 

Below, you can read about the ways we are using our ISSF funding.

St George’s objectives

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1. Investment into early career researchers

Our Research Institutes provide an excellent research environment for early career researchers. Recognising the importance of this group of scientists is a key component of our research strategy.

2. Academic Collaboration fund for Trust and University staff research collaborations

This investment will help to draw wide-ranging clinical academic expertise into our research structure, leading to stronger integration between clinicians and academics at St George’s and improvements in translational and clinical impacts to our research. 

3. Pilot research projects

A pilot project scheme will support those aiming for research grant applications from major funding bodies in our research areas of strategic importance.  

Pilot research projects funded through the Wellcome Trust ISSF. 

4. Cross-cutting core research investment

This supports key core services of value across St George's. It will enable the acquisition of new research capability and capacity. In the long term this will result in the development of new research directions.

5. Public engagement

Public engagement takes many forms – from science or career talks at schools, to involving patients with research and education, to collaborating with groups on unique projects in the community. This is an institutional priority for St George’s. ISSF investment will be used to incorporate public engagement into our taught courses, to fund public engagement training for students and staff and to develop public engagement opportunities for those who require them.  

Funding is available for St George’s research staff who want to engage the public in their research on a global scale. For support with public engagement activities, apply for the Global Public Engagement Fund. 

6. Career development

Funds will be used to explore new ways to facilitate career development for non-professorial research staff, particularly for those with complex working patterns or personal circumstances.  

Funding is available for St George’s, University of London research staff who want to attend a course, conference or research meeting, but cannot because of personal circumstances (e.g. caring responsibilities at home). For support with career development, apply for the Personal development opportunities for non-professorial research staff. 

 

Open calls

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Personal Development opportunities for non-professorial research staff

Do you want to go on a course or attend a conference but can't because of personal commitments? 

St George's is supporting new ways to facilitate personal development for non-professorial research staff. You can apply to the new Wellcome Trust ISSF personal development fund if you need some extra support to attend a personal development event because of special circumstances. 

The fund will not be used to pay for attendance at a meeting or course, but can be used to pay for something that would facilitate your attendance. For example, if you need to pay for additional child care or carer costs. Up to £100 per day is available; the total per staff member cannot exceed £600. 

To apply, please send an email to Research Strategy and Development Manager, Yvonne Castle with the following information: 

  • your name, your Institute and position, your email address

  • name and dates of the meeting or course you want to attend, and your reasons for attending

  • the source of funds, if any, for registration, travel and accommodation (delete as appropriate)

  • the reason you are applying to the ISSF personal development fund and the amount requested. 

If you wish to discuss your application first, please contact Professor Julian Ma. Applications to St George's Personal Development scheme will be accepted on a rolling basis up to 31 July 2020.

Global Public Engagement Fund

Do you travel overseas for your research? If so, could you offer some time to the new St George's Global Public Engagement scheme? 

If you are interested in engaging members of the public in your research while you are travelling, perhaps as an add-on to a research visit, then you can now apply to St George's Wellcome Trust ISSF Public Engagement fund for up to £250 to cover the additional costs for your trip. This could be used to pay for resources for your public engagement event, extra travel costs or hotel bills, or anything else related to your event. 

Public Engagement events takes many forms, including science or career talks at schools, community meetings or meeting patient groups (patient engagement). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Julian Ma for advice. 

To apply for St George's Global Public Engagement support, please write a short email to Julian Ma, briefly describing the event you want to run, who and how many people will be engaged, and a description of how your budget will be used. There are no deadlines and you will normally receive a decision within one week. If you are successful, after your event, you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire and provide a photograph of your engagement event. 

Applications to St George's Global Public Engagement scheme will be accepted on a rolling basis up to 31 July 2020.

 

Funded studies

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Protecting research time for clinical consultant staff and pilot research projects (objective 2)
Round 1
  • Jeremy Isaacs (Consultant Neurologist) - Atticus Hainsworth and Franklyn Howe (Molecular and Clinical Sciences): ‘Use of MRI-based metabolic biomarkers to identify new treatment targets in delirium and dementia’ 

  • Samar Elorbany (Clinical Fellow, Gynaecological oncology) - Dorothy Bennett (Molecular and Clinical Sciences): ‘Mutation Profile of Low grade Endometrial Endometrioid Adenocarcinoma of Poor Prognosis’ 

  • Richard Pollok (Consultant Gasteroenterologist) - Tim Planche (Infection & Immunity): ‘The role of microbial PCR testing in the evaluation of patient with GI infection and raised calprotectin’ 

  • Anshul Rastogi & Nik Papadakos (Consultant Radiologists) -  Nidhi Sofat  (Infection & Immunity): ‘Developing specific biomarkers for ARthritic PAIN to guide better treatments for chronic arthritis pain (ARPAIN study)’ 

  • Omar Khan (Consultant Upper GI and Bariatric Surgeon) - Peter Whincup (Population Health): ‘Outcomes following Bariatric Surgery’ 

  • Rafiah Badat (Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist) - Peter Whincup (Population Health): ‘iPad supported Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) to improve children’s language and wellbeing – an investigation into feasibility and acceptability to service users.’


Pilot research projects (objective 3)
Round 1
  • Professor Pippa Oakeshott, Dr S Tariq Sadiq, Dr Adam Witney, Dr Liqing Zhou. 'Genital microbiota in women who did and did not develop clinical pelvic inflammatory disease: proof of principal, matched cohort study using novel sequencing technology' 

  • Dr Claire Nightingale, Professor Peter Whincup, Professor Christopher Owen, Dr Alicja Rudnicka, Professor Derek Cook. 'Exploring the feasibility of a longitudinal (cohort) study investigating the development and determinants of type 2 diabetes risk in adolescence and early adult life in UK South Asians, black Africans and white Europeans.' 

  • Dr Pascal Drake, Dr Tim Szeto. 'Development of colicin-based antimicrobial cocktails'. 

  • Dr S Tariq Sadiq, Professor Philip Cooper, Dr Natalia Romero, Dr Emma Harding-Esch, Dr Cynthia Marquez, Emma Cousins. 'Estimation of prevalence of common sexually transmitted infections (3TI) among female sex workers in Quito, Ecuador and early evaluation of utility of an approved rapid molecular technology to give precise 3TI treatment in real-time'. 

  • Dr Ingrid Dumitriu, Dr Satdip Kaur. 'Characterisation of the frequency, phenotype and suppressive function of regulatory T cells in patients with atherosclerosis.' 

  • Dr Katalin Török, Dr Silke Kerruth. 'The role of αCaMKII clustering in ischemia.' 

Round 2
  • Dr Alicja Rudnicka, Prof. Christopher Owen, Prof. Sarah Barman, Dr. Robyn Tapp, Prof. David P Strachan, and Prof. Peter Whincup. ‘Application of automated retinal vasculometry assessment in children’. 

  • Dr Sarah Kerry-Barnard, Prof. Pippa Oakeshott, Dr Tim Planche, and Prof. Philip Hay. ‘What is the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhoea in oropharyngeal samples from ethnically diverse, sexually active teenagers?’ 

  • Dr Blair Strang, Prof. Guy Whitley, and Prof. Gavin Wilkinson. ‘Human Cytomegalovirus dissemination and pathogenesis in the placenta’. 

  • Dr Henry Staines. ‘Heavy metal transport in malarial parasites’. 

  • Dr Laura Southgate, Prof. Ruben Bierings , and Prof. Tom Carter. ‘Precision generation of cellular models to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the Adams-Oliver spectrum of vascular disorders’. 

  • Dr Tarek Antonios, Dr Nick Bunce, and Dr Taigang He. ‘A Pilot study of Capillaroscopy & Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in Hypertension & Heart Failure (CapHTen study)’. 

Round 3
  • Dr Angela Donin, Professor Peter Whincup, Dr Claire Nightingale, Professor Chris Owen. ‘Ethnic differences in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk in adolescence’.  

  • Dr Audrey Teh, Dr Cathy Moore, Dr Pascal Drake. ‘Artemisinin production in tobacco plants’. 

  • Dr Chris Carroll, Dr Sean Davidson (Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, UCL). ‘A novel mouse model for mitochondrial cardiomyopathy’.  

  • Dr Daniel Meijles, Dr Atticus Hainsworth, Anan Shtaya (St. George’s Hospital NHS Trust). ‘Endothelial cytoprotective signalling: dissecting the BRaf-erk1/2 axis in the heart and brain’.  

  • Dr David Clark, Professor Sanjeev Krishna, Dr Henry Staines. ‘Development of a low cost blood fractionation apparatus to enable multiple diagnostic pathways’.

 

How the Wellcome Trust ISSF award has been used to help St George’s achieve its objectives 

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Investment into early career researchers (objective 1)

St George’s has appointed four early career researchers supported by the Wellcome Trust’s ISSF:  

  • Dr Daniel Meijles, Lecturer in Vascular Biology, Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute 

  • Dr Claire Nightingale, Population Health Research Institute 

  • Dr Laura Southgate, Lecturer in Genetics, Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute 

  • Dr Henry Staines, Senior Research Fellow, Research Institute of Infection and Immunity

Cross-cutting core research investment (objective 4)

In 2016, investment in bioinformatics was identified as a pivotal step in developing programmes of research that were not only cross-institute, but also facilitated engagement with St. George’s Hospital NHS Trust particularly in the areas of infection and genetics of human disease.  

Bacterial genomics and human genetics have long been a strength at St. George’s, particularly in relation to integrated clinical research with colleagues and resources in St. George’s Hospital NHS Trust. The ISSF award has allowed us to implement a strategy to build capacity specifically in bioinformatics, which not only strengthens existing research but has very rapidly resulted in a transformation in research opportunities across the institution.   

Public engagement (objective 5)

Global health is a research strength at St. George’s and our academics lead many international research consortium projects around the world. The new Global Public Engagement programme was introduced to support overseas public engagement activities with local collaborators. It encourages our researchers to spend additional time during site visits to run public engagement events. 

  • In Chon Buri, Thailand twenty-seven senior high school students engaged in activities to understand rabies control in Thailand, and participated in a six-week experiment to help develop a molecular pharming programme at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. This was organised by Julian Ma, Hotung Professor of Molecular Immunology.  

  • In the Nkoranza and Wa municipalities of the Brong Ahafo and Upper West regions of Ghana, a clinical diagnostic training seminar for thirty community health workers was held to discuss our Buruli ulcer research programme; and to educate patients about the benefits of participating in local research studies and to allay their fears or concerns. This was organised by Justice Boakye-Appiah under the supervision of Dr Mark Wansbrough-Jones, Institute of Infection and Immunity.  

  • In Quininde, Ecuador a three-day public engagement workshop was organised to launch a long-term collaboration on infection, antibiotic resistance and vulnerable populations. Invitees included representation from the Ministry for Public Health, commissioners of health provision, health providers, representatives from the female sex work industry and bar/club owners. This was organised by Tariq Sadiq, Professor of Molecular Medicine. 

Personal career development (objective 6)

Funding is available for St George’s, University of London staff who want to attend a course or conference but cannot because of caring responsibilities at home, for example. The funds are available to facilitate attendance for research staff. For more information about this funding opportunity, read more at Open Call ‘Personal development opportunities for non-professorial research staff’. 

 

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