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					                            THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

                 COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND VETERINARY MEDICINE

                                 RESEARCH COMMITTEE

          Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 21 May 2008 at 2.15 p.m. in
       the Mary Kinross Room, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Little France

Present:        Professor J R Seckl, Convener
                Professor P Brophy
                Professor H Cubie
                Professor G Fowkes
                Professor A Harmar
                Professor D Hume
                Professor R G Morris
                Professor J Mullins
                Professor S Ralston
                Professor P Sandercock
                Professor P Saunders
                Professor Sir John Savill, Vice Principal and Head of College
                Professor M Shipston
                Professor Sir Ian Wilmut
                Mr D Waddell

In attendance: Professor J Haywood (for item 6)
               Professor M Walkinshaw (for item 5)
               Dr H Marriage (for item 7)
               Dr C Reilly (for item 7)
               Mr L Golightley
               Mr P McGuire, Secretary
               Ms M Dozier (for item 8)
               Ms J Ritchie (for item 8)
               Ms M Watson (for item 8)

Apologies:      Professor M Frame
                Professor P Ghazal
                Professor D Harrison
                Professor C Haslett
                Professor N Hastie
                Professor A Illius
                Professor A Nash
                Professor D Newby
                Professor D Porteous
                Professor E Watson
                Dr K Wilson

Professor David Hume, Director of the Roslin Institute, was welcomed as a new, ex officio
member of the Committee.

1.    Minutes of the previous meeting, 20 February 2008
      Approved.

2.    Matters arising
      None.

3.    Recent, major funding bids
      Professors Murray, Fowkes, Ralston, Sandercock et al have received a MRC award
      of £2.8 M to establish the Edinburgh Clinical Methodology Hub. The award is one of
      only three such awards in the UK.


                                         Minutes of CMVM Research Committee, 21 May 2008 (1)
4.   Update on senior appointments
     Head of College informed the Committee of the following developments:
         Developmental Biology and Anatomy – search continues
         Psychiatry – a potential candidate had emerged
         Imaging – the institutions in SINAPSE collaboration were currently reviewing the
          applications received following the recent joint advertisement
         Geriatric Medicine – selection Committee convened with interviews set for
          October 2008; this post would be funded via NHS and it was anticipated that it
          would provide a link to the MRC Centre in Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive
          Epidemiology led by Professor Ian Deary
         Maternal and Foetal Health – still vacant
         Motor Neurone Disease – search continues.

     Head of College reiterated the principle that normally it will be difficult to make new
     appointments without external funding.

5.   Centre for Translational and Chemical Biology
     Professor Malcolm Walkinshaw was welcomed to the meeting. He informed the
     Committee that CTCB was founded with SULSA, the Scottish Universities Life Sciences
     Alliance, in 2005. It received £0.75 M, but now has grants of £3.8 M.

     CTCB provides facilities and expertise to promote interdisciplinary research across
     biology, chemistry and medicine. It facilitates:
          Protein production and characterisation
          Virtual screening for drug leads
          Commercial opportunities
          Advanced practical training.

     CTCB has expertise in:
        Protein production and characterisation
        Assay and screening technologies
        Bio-chemo informatics
        also, proteins can be labelled there

     CTCB provides:
        central facilities for labs in MVM, Biology and Chemistry (contract or service work
         is possible, but the model is to provide a well run facility for competent users at
         reasonable cost (http://www.ctcb.bio.ed.ac.uk)
        a multidisciplinary training environment (MSc in Drug Discovery and Translational
         Biology

     CTCB has a diverse steering group, reflecting its multidisciplinary nature.

     In discussion it was commented:
           that this was a fantastic development, also the model for the pharma industry
           a crash course in using these tools would be useful for many MVM researchers –
            interested persons should contact CTCB; there are regular courses on offer for
            postdocs and staff to become expert users
           there is a significant skills gap in the development of leads, but CTCB hoped to
            address this with help from Chemists, while Professors Walkinshaw, Seckl and
            Head of College have written to the MRC Pathway Awards Scheme to try and fill
            these gaps
           syncretion is possible via CTCB’s block grant funding
           CTCB should consider what is unique about that that Scottish Enterprise (SE)
            might invest in, to take it to the next level; also, NHS R&D should bid to SE, to
            add value to its activities, and CTCB could be one such project
           protein making done properly is highly valuable.

       Professor Walkinshaw was thanked for attending, and congratulated for establishing
       such an impressive facility.


                                          Minutes of CMVM Research Committee, 21 May 2008 (2)
6.   University draft research computing strategy: discussion with Colleges
     Professor Jeff Haywood, Vice Principal Knowledge Management, Chief Information
     Officer & Librarian, University of Edinburgh, was welcomed to the meeting. Colleges
     were being asked to consider if data storage, high bandwidth networks, etc. are
     deemed important enough to rate as areas of investment. If so, these need to be
     bundled in with fEC and external funding bids, etc. The University’s aim is to have world
     class data storage and access, curation and support, but the only away to achieve this
     would seem to be partnership investment in infrastructure.

     In discussion it was commented that much of the document is as expected and
     uncontentious. Some key issues for the College are as follows:
      storage for massive imaging and other datasets
      the ability of researchers to use high bandwidth
      high quality IT which overcomes physical separateness, to bring together virtual
          centres and researchers on different sites
      high quality data collection can be an important factor in attracting new staff
      recent network problems in MRC HRSU have highlighted the needs for robustness,
          reliability and support
      the NHS is a critical stakeholder, wishing to make best use of accumulated data,
          while maintaining high levels of data security
      reducing travel through tele-conferencing etc, and reducing the University’s carbon
          footprint should be part of the strategy
      flexibility is important, for example to accommodate Roslin’s Apple Mac users
      devolution and outsourcing of computing services should be considered as options
      the detail would be critical; ordinary costing through fEC was challenging enough.

     Overall, there was general support for the draft document. Professor Haywood thanked
     the Committee for its feedback.

7.   Update on Entrepreneur in Residence programme
     Dr Howard Marriage reported that his focus was relentlessly on company formation on
     whatever can be identified. The task is seen as bringing outsiders in, establishing
     projects of scale, organically or by acquisition, so that they are sustainable.

     The E-i-R programme began with meeting Heads of CMVM centres and the College of
     Science & Engineering, before focusing on complementary IP, technologies and
     approaches, mainly within Scotland. Government support has been sought, as has that
     of banks and venture capital. Evolving propositions have come from within
     Neuroscience, Inflammation, Women’s Health, Cancer and Animal phenotyping and
     advanced models.

     To date the following funding has been achieved:
          POC pain £400,000
          Clinical package £45,000
          LSBAS 2 x £7,000
          Investor ready £5,000 (£30,000 available)
     
     Funding in negotiations/on going applications:
          POC psychiatry £700,000
          Company investment in device project £500,000
          Seed round NeurocentRx Pharma £200, 000
          SULSA drug screen £21,000
     
     Funding applied for and did not awarded:
          POC’s x 3 £700,000.

     Academic and research staff within the College are urged to:
     •     tell the E-i-R of business ambitions for CMVM -early ideas and concepts
     •     identify globally competitive science


                                         Minutes of CMVM Research Committee, 21 May 2008 (3)
     •     suggest unmet medical needs
     •     suggest SE POC funding opportunities
     •     translational/diagnostic use of biomarkers from TMRI, Generation Scotland
     •     identify areas of Pharma interest from conference intelligence, etc.
     •     identifying Post-docs/ young PIs keen to be involved in commercial activity -
           Gannochy Trust Innovation Award RSE
     •     identify translational funding opportunities to help build a funding pipeline.

     In discussion it was commented:
     •       this Committee invested in the E-i-R programme, which led to a MRC
            translational award, and it is now in a position to help shape the national agenda
     •      funding for IP is still lacking
     •      generally, CMVM has not been successful at spin outs, with Professor Chris
            Gregory being one of a few notable exceptions
     •      there should be dialogue with the NHS about spinout research
     •      it would be ideal to have local, captive venture capital
     •      BioQuarter has financial and in kind investment of £30 M
     •      the process of catalysing needs to begin earlier
     •      there is scope to make animal houses commercially viable
     •      it was often not clear what expertise, resources, etc. we were lacking - hence the
            E-i-R programme
     •      MRC Developmental Pathways funding is crucial; the MRC want to award £8 M,
            and hopefully we can do well and seek matching funds from SE
     •      we should consider a portfolio of partners, rather than attempt solo efforts
     •      SE is being asked to bring in market expertise diagnostics
     •      we could consider establishing companies within our own centres
     •      at the University of Queensland, the perceived underperformance of the
            University’s commercialisation company led to the formation of the successful
            IMB.com (http://www.imbcom.com.au/) which operates from within the Institute
            for Molecular Bioscience, and generates turnover to fund research activity
     •      contract research generates income but doesn’t always help fundamental
            research.

8.   University Open Access Publications Repository
     Ms Morag Watson was welcomed to the meeting. The Library’s Open Access
     Publications Repository can be viewed at http://www.publications.lib.ed.ac.uk. The
     Repository, initially used for RAE 2008, will be used to hold all University of Edinburgh
     publications, and will be used for the RAE’s successor, the Research Excellence
     Framework. It will hold outputs from: Category As - University of Edinburgh staff;
     Category Bs - ex-University of Edinburgh staff; Category Cs - NHS, MRC and other
     collaborators; Category Ds – ex-Category Cs. The repository will help the University to
     address the open access agenda, which all major funding bodies now expect. Also, in
     due course, data held there can be used for purposes such as automatically populating
     publication lists on personal and centre/unit web pages.

     It will be a major task initially to compile data on all known outputs, and there will be
     difficulties to overcome. For example, Web of Science, and other Citation and journal
     databases are full of errors such as misspellings of author names, so publication lists
     will need to be sent to staff for verification. The College will begin to upload data to the
     repository from this summer.

9.   Full Economic Costing
     There exists an impression that we are not getting as much as we could from fEC-
     bearing grants, so updated guidance from Head of College and Director of Research
     will be sent to all academic and research staff. (sent by email 10 June 2008,14:48).This
     will contain a list of automatic add-ons. Pleasingly, recently the University changed its
     rules on fEC to incentivise the process, and guidance from the College will explain what
     this will mean to Schools and PIs.




                                           Minutes of CMVM Research Committee, 21 May 2008 (4)
10.   Update on Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit and MHRA Inspection, 2008
      Professor Ralston reported that an inspection of CTIMPS (clinical trials involving drugs)
      by the Medicines and Heathcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will take place in
      the next few months (update: it is now known the inspection will not be held before the
      end of September). This is critical to the University. In practice it entails having in place
      good management systems such as Standard Operating Procedures, protocols, a
      Quality Assurance regime, etc. The inspection is a test of ACCORD, Academic and
      Clinical Central Office for Research and Development, QMRI, but it is a University of
      Edinburgh legal responsibility. A mock inspection by a specialist company, Tower
      Mains, will take place on 17 and 18 June.

11.   Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit (ECTU)
      Activity is building nicely, and the unit will be important for the College in the years
      ahead. A funding application was submitted to UK Clinical Research Collaboration, but
      unfortunately Scottish applications were not accepted. The bid was rated and graded,
      so funding will be sought from CSO. It was important that all such bids are linked with
      NHS R&D.

12.   BRR issues
      There has now been an external review and reports, and the service is now run by and
      for academic staff, who set performance targets, charges, etc. and there is greater
      receptiveness to user comments.

13    Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) bids
      Professor Hillier and others were considering an IMI bid focused on PhD and
      postdoctoral training for the pharma industry.

14    Items for information

      14.1 Latest ERI report on KPIs
      There was much pleasing information in this report (www.eri.ed.ac.uk/kpi). Three out of
      four Schools’ award income was up on last year, and while application numbers are flat,
      overall success rates are up.

      It was noted that a recent report confirmed that Scottish universities outperform Harvard
      University in company formation.

15    Date of next meeting
      To be confirmed. There will be four or five meetings over 2008/09 academic year.

16    Any other business

      16.1 Tam Dalziel Award
      Tam Dalyell, former MP and University Rector, is to present a new award in his name
      for raising public interest in science. ‘The inaugural award will recognise an individual or
      group for work such as hosting school visits, talks and other public events or through
      publishing and broadcasting’. Further information is at
      http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2008/may/dalyell. Nominations should be forwarded to Head
      of College. The central deadline for nominations is 5 September.

      16.2 Secretary to Committee, 2008/09
      In 2008/09, Paul McGuire will cover for Andrea Scott, CSCH School Administrator,
      while she is on maternity leave. Stuart Doherty, currently WTCRF Administrator, email
      Stuart.Doherty@ed.ac.uk, tel 242 9253, will take over Paul’s post and be Secretary to
      this Committee.




                                            Minutes of CMVM Research Committee, 21 May 2008 (5)

				
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