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UK Offering $7.7M to Capitalize on Genomics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A new UK initiative will invest up to £5 million ($7.7 million) in grants to businesses conducting research that use high-throughput sequencing and other genomics technologies, the UK's Technology Strategy Board said Thursday.
The TSB is a business-led public entity that was established by the government to fund research that seeks to develop and exploit technologies and innovations that can boost economic growth and improve life.

The competition, which will start in October, will seek to fund work by consortia that use high-throughput sequencing for genome analysis and other genomics technologies to enable development of new products and processes.

TSB sees genomic information as being useful in an array of applications, including development of biomedical research, livestock and crop species selective breeding, novel therapeutics, vaccines, and antimicrobials.

"The UK is well positioned due to its high-quality science base and significant commercial life sciences sector," Ian Gray, CEO of the TSB, said in a statement. "The challenge for UK business is to capitalize on the opportunities provided by these technological advances."

Businesses applying for the funding may propose using technologies that involve, but are not limited to, identification of economically important traits in livestock and crops and the development of tools to exploit that knowledge; identification of novel biomarkers for screening or diagnostics; studying metagenomics for various biotech and agriculture applications; identifying and monitoring infectious outbreaks; development of novel vaccines and microbials; or genetic improvements in commercially relevant organisms.

"While we expect that sequence data will underpin all projects, we envisage that consortia will use a number of 'omics techniques to enable the translation of this information into commercially relevant applications," TSB added.

Such projects could entail sequencing the full or partial genome of a species whose information is not yet available or resequencing projects that would provide important new information about a species.

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