Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Behind the MRC scenes’ Category

Mental health research: working it out together

One of the ways the MRC supports scientists in delivering world-leading research is by holding workshops where researchers can meet with our programme teams to discuss the MRC’s aims and ambitions for their area of work. As we prepare to publish our updated Strategy for Lifelong Mental Health Research, Dr Kathryn Adcock, the MRC’s Head of Neurosciences and Mental Health looks forward to the global mental health workshop coming in June.

Close-up of group of people in discussion while sitting at an office table

As with so much in life, the best ideas often emerge when we come together. It’s the meeting of minds that enables those ideas to grow, and dialogue and debate that nurtures those ideas, shaping the world of tomorrow.

This is especially true for research. The MRC fervently believes that the best research often comes about when researchers collaborate, irrespective of science area and increasingly, irrespective of geographical boundary.

Social media provides a terrific virtual way to bring scientists together, whether it’s announcing new programmes and research calls on twitter, or commenting at the foot of blog posts like this one. But as helpful as the virtual world can be, there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction. Read more

Capital for tissue banks – what we want from charities

Last month we invited applications for a £5-million pot of capital investment to partner with charities to establish or enhance human tissue banks and linked data. Katherine Nightingale spoke to MRC Programme Manager Dr David Crosby about the role of charities in tissue banking and what we’re looking for from charity partners.

Why do we need tissue banks?

Tissue banking is a really important area for research. If you want to understand the mechanisms of human disease and identify appropriate targets for new treatments, then tissue from patients with a particular disease is a fantastic resource. You can study the disease processes in cellular form, screen therapies, develop diagnostics and validate what you’ve learned from other research such as animal studies.

A rack of tissue samples

A rack of tissue samples (Image: UCL)

What’s the purpose of this investment?

Tissue banking isn’t cheap and it’s logistically complex. We’re making a one-off investment to fund tissue bank infrastructure. This includes the people, equipment and facilities required to collect, characterise, curate and store the tissue and its associated data, and make it accessible to the research community.

The awards will concentrate on areas of existing strength either in tissue banking or in important lines of research that can benefit from tissue banking.

Applicants will need to describe how a proposed tissue bank will catalyse new science through new tissue banking and data linkage approaches. Read more

How do you solve a problem like reproducibility?

Today the MRC and a group of partner organisations issued an update on what we have been doing to address of reproducibility and reliability of research since the publication of the report of our symposium on the issue last year. Dr Frances Rawle, our Head of Corporate Governance and Policy, talks about what we’ve done so far.

arrows heading in the same direction

Dr Frances RawleReproducibility is everyone’s problem. If we can’t ensure that our results are reliable, then our research can’t improve human health.

Everyone involved in biomedical research, including funders, individual researchers, research institutes, universities, publishers and academies – must play a part in improving research practices.

We’ve worked across the sector to discover the main causes of irreproducible results and what we can do to improve the situation. Read more