The UK’s Technology Strategy Board has committed £10 million to support collaborative research and development projects in the field of regenerative medicine.

As part of its Autumn 2007 call for proposals in a number of technology areas, the Board is inviting applications for investment in research projects that involve the development of living cell processes and cell-focused applications for improved healing, including living cell bioprocessing, smart dressings, wound repair and veterinary, surgical or dental applications.

Particularly welcome are projects that demonstrate significant innovation in the following areas:

- Engineered systems for scale-up of tissues and cells
- Functional integration and immunocompatability
- New dressings with reactive elements
- Control of cellular movement

The Technology Strategy Board will provide partial investment in winning projects that address one or more of these areas and involve businesses working in collaboration with other businesses and/or with research organisations and academic institutions.

The projects, which can last for two to three years, may range from small, highly focused basic research initiatives, aimed at establishing technical feasibility, to applied research and experimental development programmes geared to producing technology demonstrators. Additional funding from the UK’s Research Councils may be available where there is a significant, high-quality academic component.

Applicants must register their intention to apply for funding by 11 January 2008 and the final closing date for applications is 14 February 2008. Further information is available at www.technologyprogramme.org.uk.

Healthcare revolution
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, commented: “Regenerative medicine is at the forefront of 21st century healthcare and will revolutionise healthcare treatment. The worldwide market is conservatively estimated to reach US$500 billion by 2010. The UK has a significant presence in this field. However, to realise the potential for regenerative medicine, the successful development and application of bioprocessing technologies will be required in order to make manufactured products available at a reasonable cost.”

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the UK government and sponsored by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). The Board’s stated mission is to promote and support research into, as well as development and exploitation of, technology for the benefit of UK business, with the wider goal of increasing economic growth and improving quality of life.