Liverpool Consortium Partnership reaches £6.7m in translational funding across the UK

Published on

A scene of a petri dish being swabbed by a gloved hand in a lab, with a row of pipettes in the background

The National Biofilm Innovation Centre (NBIC), of which the University of Liverpool is a core partner, has achieved an important milestone in delivering £6.7M in funding to drive UK’s innovation in Biofilms.

To date, the NBIC has managed four rounds of proof-of-concept funding awarded to projects that translate fundamental research into innovation.

A collaborative project between the University’s Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces (OPIHAS) and regional SME Virustatic Ltd is one of 18 new projects supported through this latest PoC funding round.

The funding will allow the academic-industry team to develop novel bio-inspired coatings that prevent microbial biofilms and provide a route to sustainable and scalable technology.

The project is the University’s sixth successful NBIC POC award involving researchers across Physical and Life Sciences.

Professor Rasmita Raval is Director of the University’s Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces and one of the four co-founders and co-directors of the National Biofilm Innovation Centre. She said: “The University is one of the four core partners of NBIC. Since the inception of NBIC, 81 collaborative projects have been awarded across 4 rounds of POC – with £4.35m from NBIC and a further £2.4m provided by industry. This activity highlights the pivotal role NBIC is undertaking in driving translational projects across the UK, leveraging the breadth and excellence of University research to restructure the innovation landscape across multiple industry sectors”.

Dr Mark Richardson, CEO of NBIC, said: “We received a record number of applications for our fourth call, and from an even more diverse set of sectors and universities all collaborating with UK industry or stakeholders (e.g., NHS). The importance of understanding the role microbial communities can play, both good and bad, in our life and economy has never been greater. They provide not only problems to be tackled, such as in controlling disease transmission, but also opportunities to exploit, such as in carbon capture and water treatment”.

Biofilms are an area of major concern in medical settings, estimated to account for over 80 percent of microbial infections in the body. They often grow on implanted medical devices such as catheters and pacemakers and prosthetic heart valves, causing secondary infection in the treatment of other conditions. Their formation is especially problematic, as it makes them more resistant to antibiotics and other biological and chemical agents when compared to regular, free-forming bacteria. This resistance to conventional treatments represents a major challenge in treating infections.

The NBIC is a multi-site Innovation and Knowledge Centre, with a core partnership of the Universities of Southampton, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Nottingham. It was founded in 2017 supported by a commitment of £26 million funding from partners including the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Centre (BBSRC), Innovate UK, with additional support from universities and industry.

The Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces is a dynamic multi-disciplinary initiative to develop new processes and technologies to tackle antimicrobial resistance.