After nearly eight years at the helm of the MRC as Chief Executive, Professor Sir John Savill steps down at the end of March, just before UK Research and Innovation comes into being on 1 April. Here he reflects on how he’s translated his priorities into research investments which will strengthen the UK research ecosystem for the future.
At the end of this week I will have completed an eventful seven and a half years as CEO of the MRC. Thanks to wonderful support from across the MRC’s extended family, much has been achieved for medical research.
For MRC grants that involve collaborations, almost half (43%) are international. We’re running a symposium in Washington D.C to encourage more of this, by joining up UK early career researchers and National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers working in neurodegeneration. But what’s the international incentive? Three researchers with MRC-NIH Partnership Awards share how they hope to benefit.
Dr Chi-Hun Kim, Dementias Platform UK, University of Oxford
Dr Chi-Hun Kim
The UK and US each have rich data sources for dementia research. But there aren’t any efficient UK-US data access channels which make it easier for researchers in the two countries to collaborate.
I plan to use the Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) Data Portal as a channel for more efficient and long-standing collaboration. The portal is a secure one-stop website where researchers can upload their data and analyse it for free. By using this robust MRC-funded facility, I’ll conduct a study using data from both sides of the Atlantic. I’m aiming to get a better picture of how conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain might affect the development of dementia.
DPUK and I have been helping South Korea make a similar facility to help with international collaboration. My experiences from the MRC-Korea collaboration will set me up well for this exciting new collaboration.