News article

UK’s Newton Fund seeks collaboration opportunities for health projects in the Philippines

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The British Embassy is calling all researchers or scientists to submit proposals that will meet the health needs of vulnerable communities in the Philippines.

Two opportunities have opened for health research collaborations between the Philippines and the UK through the Newton Fund. The first is a £2M (132.6 million pesos) allocation for research on infectious diseases, which has been identified as a priority by the partners Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST PCHRD) and the UK Medical Research Council.

The second call, in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, amounts to a combined £10M (663 million pesos) for five countries in the South-east Asia region, to fund research studies that contribute to increasing the health and medical research capacity in the Philippines while also providing the opportunity to work with researchers in the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

DOST PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya said:

We are focusing on infectious diseases research due to mutual interests, strengths and opportunities in this area. Infectious diseases such as dengue and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a continuing burden in the country, especially for vulnerable populations with limited access to adequate health care. Philippine research efforts to find effective solutions could be complemented by working with the best institutions in infectious disease research.

The Newton Fund is an initiative by the British Government to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging economies such as the Philippines.

Last month, top UK research institutions including the University of Cambridge, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Nottingham and the MRC-University of Glasgow, visited Manila to meet and discuss with top Filipino researchers to explore ways to diagnose diseases faster, record and analyse patient data for effective assessment, and discover new drugs for emerging infections. The UK’s science and innovation pursuits produced life-changing products and the designs from penicillin to the internet, and various healthcare companies continue to invest in R&D facilities in the UK to tap the resource talent available. Through this collaboration, the Philippines could also tap into that talent pool.

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said:

We want to cultivate our science and innovation links with the Philippines through this programme and build new ways of working together. Research projects under this collaboration are an excellent opportunity to address some of the key challenges for health in the country as well as furthering our science links with the Philippines. We encourage innovative proposals in health research which address the needs of the most vulnerable whilst strengthening research training and creating career pathways for researchers.

More information on the two calls could be found on the Medical Research council website and the Wellcome Trust-MRC Newton Fund Collaboration page. Deadline for expressions of interest to join are in June and May 2015, respectively.