The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 84.5 million to continue the BRIDGE – Translational Excellence Programme at the University of Copenhagen.
The purpose of BRIDGE is to train translational scientists to drive translational research from universities and hospitals to the life science industry. The overall goal is to strengthen the collaboration between academia, healthcare and the life science industry and thus to enhance the mobility of talented researchers between all sectors.
Strives to gear up the healthcare system
BRIDGE will pay the salary of fellows for the 2 years in which, together with mentors from various disciplines, they undertake individual research projects at the interface between research, clinical practice and the pharmaceutical industry. The fellows will also take courses to equip them to build bridges between actors in the healthcare system and to strengthen their skills in navigating the processes involved in translating basic research discoveries into patient treatments.
“The COVID-19 pandemic especially demonstrates the importance of close collaboration between basic research, industry and the clinical environment so that we can quickly apply scientific discoveries to benefit patients’ health. Within an extremely short time, we must be able to diagnose, treat and prevent a completely new disease. BRIDGE strives to gear up the healthcare system to be able to handle such processes,” says Ulla Wewer, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
In 2018, the Foundation awarded a grant of DKK 46 million to establish BRIDGE, which has since selected two annual groups of 11 fellows each, who are well underway with cross-disciplinary research projects. The new grant will enable another three annual groups of 14 young researchers to join the Programme over the coming years.
“Industry, universities and hospitals greatly need researchers who know how to collaborate across sectors. With the grant, we want to help strengthen collaboration, knowledge exchange and networking between sectors and to overcome barriers that prevent researchers moving from one sector to another,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Promising projects in the pipeline
The BRIDGE research projects are developed in collaboration with experienced researchers representing university research, clinical environments and the pharmaceutical industry. The 22 current projects are wide ranging, including developing new contraceptives, using artificial intelligence in healthcare and developing new treatments for nervous system diseases and infections.