Case study - University of Manchester

Supporting research sustainability

Manchester Cancer Research Centre
The Manchester Cancer Research Centre
(Credit: University of Manchester)

University of Manchester has ring-fenced portions of their quality-related research (QR) and formula capital funding allocations to sustain the research momentum and impact of active work streams.

QR funding has been essential for setting up a centre for interdisciplinary research, the University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI), pump priming activities to form interdisciplinary teams working on key global and societal challenges, and providing a platform for building international collaborations. The cross-cutting ‘Digital Futures’ theme at UMRI, using £650,000 of QR funding, has brought together a cross-disciplinary community to develop new technologies, networks, interactive systems and sensors to improve city services by understanding how people interact with the world. The success of this initiative has generated further collaborations with key stakeholders in Manchester City Council, businesses and government departments including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Digital technologies are a key challenge of the Industrial Strategy and QR funding has facilitated Manchester’s ability to underpin larger research programmes focussed on these areas.

Annually, QR funding has been ring-fenced for the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC). MCRC focusses on translational medical research for improving clinical care for cancer patients, developing patient-centred treatment strategies. The MCRC works closely in collaboration with charities including Cancer Research UK, and the Christie Foundation Trust, to ensure that the research outputs of the Centre are able to maximise the potential of cross-disciplinary working from developing therapy strategies alongside the clinical community. Specialists in Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, Radiotherapy Related Research and discovery research in certain tumour specific themes (lung, prostate, melanoma and pancreatic) have already been recruited and there are plans to recruit further strategic posts and associated postdoctoral support going forward.

As charity research funding does not cover the full economic costs of research activities, the QR funding for MCRC is essential for match funding and covering shortfalls in these areas, thus allowing research streams to continue. The QR funding not only funds the academic posts and any start-up funds but it also funds the estates and infrastructure required to house the academic staff who work as part of the MCRC.