Hilary Eidan and Danny Miller

Applying our research: scientific translation

Translation introduction

At the Crick, we believe that science can help to deliver improvements in health, wealth and wellbeing for people in the UK and around the world.

We are working to translate our discoveries into treatments and diagnostic tools to benefit people’s health, and for our innovative technologies to be adopted by the biomedical research community.

We’re speeding up this challenging process by blurring the boundaries between scientific disciplines, and between discovery and applied research, to share knowledge in all directions.

And we're building a culture where translation is part of the fabric of scientific life at the Crick. Our researchers are encouraged to think ambitiously about where their ideas could lead, and supported to get there with the right partners.

Approach and quote

Our approach

Turning scientific discoveries into new tools and treatments is often complex, and takes time and considerable investment.

We aim to accelerate the early stages of this process, turning ideas into an attractive proposition to partners, meaning products and technologies can reach patients sooner.

We support translational research projects with both expertise and funding. We work closely with our scientists, ensuring that ideas with translational potential are progressed in a bespoke way, via the most appropriate route.

This might include:

  • progressing the work within the group leader’s laboratory
  • finding external funding and partnerships, including with industry and clinical medicine
  • assisting with company start-up
  • providing ‘idea to innovation’ funds from the MRC and LifeArc.
"That is the ultimate goal for any scientist - to see their work translated into something that will impact people's lives."

George Kassiotis

Group leader, Retroviral Immunology Laboratory

Advancing a discovery

Advancing a discovery

This is an example of how we can help an idea grow and evolve from a discovery in the lab into a treatment or technology that improves lives.

It is represented as a linear process, but in reality, scientists may come to us at many points in the journey and, often, translation projects feed back into discovery research ideas.

  • Idea

    A Crick scientist has an idea for a new treatment, technology or diagnostic test.

  • Conversation

    They contact the Translation team to talk about possible applications. The team may provide funding at this stage for experiments to prove an initial concept.

  • Refinement

    ​​​​​​The Translation team makes links with clinicians, industry, entrepreneurs and other experts who can help to refine the idea.

  • Development

    ​​​​​​A development plan is created and the project’s purpose, novelty, potential patient benefits and possible partners are established.

  • Support

    The Translation team has regular meetings with the scientist and adjusts the plan as the project develops.

  • Partnership

    Once the project is at the point of implementation, the teams work together to find partners who can progress the project through clinical trials, user testing or marketing.

  • Idea to Innovation

    Funding example

    Idea to Innovation

    One of the ways we support our scientists to progress their ideas is through the ideas to innovation (i2i) scheme, which provides early stage funding. This is made possible by MRC grants and philanthropic donations. 

    In addition, the Crick and the independent medical charity LifeArc have created the LifeArc-Crick translation fund, making £5 million available over five years to advance projects in areas aligned to LifeArc’s strategy and with the Crick’s discovery science strengths. The money supports Crick scientists in progressing promising innovations to the point where the projects can attract larger scale investment.

    LifeArc, strategic partner for KQ Labs

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