Scientific Advisory Board appointed to Life Sciences Bridging Fund

10 June 2015
Life Sciences Bridging Fund

A team of highly experienced individuals who are acknowledged experts in their specialised fields have been appointed to the new Life Sciences Bridging Fund Scientific Advisory Board.

The Board, which was announced today by Economy and Science Minister Edwina Hart, will provide advice on the management and delivery of the £3m Life Sciences Bridging Fund on behalf of the Life Sciences Hub Wales.

It will recommend projects for approval and be responsible for the provision of significant mentoring and coaching to successful and potential applicants.

The Bridging Fund is anticipated to support up to 20 of the very best research projects over two years, maximising their commercial benefits and to turn the most promising science research projects into new businesses, stimulating further growth in the sector, and creating high quality employment opportunities.

The following have been appointed for a period of three years:

  • Dr David Owen – Chair
  • Professor Javier Bonet
  • Dr Alison Campbell
  • Dr Peter Corish
  • Dr Colin Greengrass
  • Dr Rhian Hayward
  • Professor Jackie Hunter
  • Professor Chris McGuigan
  • Professor Dawood Parker

Mrs Hart said: “I am delighted at the calibre of applicants to the Board and the wealth and breadth of experience they bring. They are set to play a key role in turning first class research into commercially viable businesses in Wales and their knowledge, capability and expertise will be invaluable.

“There is excellent research being undertaken in this sector in Wales which needs to be translated into new businesses and this is where the provision of significant mentoring and coaching to successful and potential applicants is of vital importance.

“The Bridging fund will sit alongside the Welsh Life Sciences Investment fund to provide a coherent pathway to deliver excellent economic benefits for the Welsh economy

“I would like to thank the newly appointed Board members for their interest in developing the sector in Wales and their willingness to give their time to help build the next generation of life science businesses.”

Board Chairman Dr David Owen has more than 20 years experience in R&D in the pharmaceutical industry plus 25 years of international experience in technology transfer / investment funds.

Dr Owen, who is a Member of the Advisory Board, Ser Cymru Drug Discovery Network, said: “The type of studies that this funding can support is often crucial to accelerate the path of new research findings towards successful commercialisation. The Welsh Government should be congratulated for this taking initiative. The importance people attach to this funding mechanism is reflected in the remarkably talented members of the Scientific Advisory Board who have made themselves available to advise the Government on the most deserving opportunities”.

The Bridging Fund Scientific Advisory Board will assess the quality of applications and ensure appropriate project management is in place to support funded projects. They will also provide deliver bespoke coaching and mentoring support to grant recipients as required and guide them through the process of turning their research into businesses.

Working with Welsh Universities to exploit existing technology transfer experience, and with the National Research Networks to facilitate embedding enterprise into the Universities, the Board will also seek matched funding from other sources to increase the money available.

The Bridging fund will compliment the Welsh Life Sciences Investment fund (WLSIF), which is a £100m equity fund managed on behalf of Welsh Government by Arthurian Life Sciences.

The WLSIF has opened in 2013, and has already invested £35.8m in 8 projects, and has leveraged in £150m of co investment to these projects for the benefit of the Welsh economy. These projects will support around 500 life sciences jobs here in Wales.