£1.5m Liverpool fund targets infection transmission

Following the pandemic science firms and research groups with new ideas to tackle infection transmission are invited to apply to £1.5m fund being operated out of Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Laboratory, lab, science, biotech, research iiCON
iiCON will operate the fund that will look for new ideas fro targeting transmission


A new £1.5m fund will offer grants to companies and research groups offering novel solutions to tackle infection transmission.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed the Liverpool-based Infection Innovation Consortium: iiCON to operate the new fund. iiCON is a consortium led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, and the global disruption it caused, scientists are developing new ideas aimed at tackling the spread of infection. This fund will offer firms the opportunity to shape the direction of the UK’s infection response.

Those operating the fund are particularly keen to support the development of new concepts that leverage disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital and automation, advanced humanised infection models, and novel diagnostics.

Professor Janet Hemingway, founding director of iiCON, said: “Combatting the transmission of infection is one of the key health challenges of our time, and one that is growing in urgency.

“As such, it’s critical that we leverage novel, disruptive technology to drive forward our collective efforts to tackle the spread of infection. We are particularly keen to engage individuals and companies who have not previously worked in this area.

“We hope this exciting programme will spark the formation of new cross-disciplinary networks and support participants to shape the future direction of our response to infection transmission.”

Companies and groups will have the opportunity to apply to take part in two ‘sandpit’ events held in Liverpool on March 14 and London on May 9.


Prof Janet Hemingway
Professor Janet Hemingway, iiCON director


These intensive innovation workshop sessions will help to spark ideas, foster innovation, and create new collaborative approaches to tackle this urgent challenge and drive forward novel projects.

Complementing the work of UKRI’s flagship AMR and epidemic preparedness programmes, the sandpits will look to pump-prime radical new approaches to tackling infections by engaging new communities and capabilities with the challenge.

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They will shape the call for funding pots of £50,000 to £150,000 to test disruptive approaches to tackling infections. Network support grants of up to £50,000 will also be available.

The development of new antibiotics and companion diagnostics are out of scope for the new fund, as these are covered by the recently announced PACE initiative.

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