Vaccine and Food Manufacturing Hubs Launched through £24 Million EPSRC Funding Opportunity
The vaccine hub will enable rapid rollout of highly effective new vaccines for frontline use, while the Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub aims to transform food production to an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable model.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced £24 million funding support to establish two new manufacturing hubs.
The Future Vaccines Manufacturing Hub will be co-led by University College London (UCL) and the University of Oxford and will focus on vaccine discovery, development and manufacture. It aims to enable rapid rollout of highly effective new vaccines for frontline use.
The hub aims to:
- Deliver flexible, innovative technologies that can manufacture many types of vaccine.
- Develop streamlined vaccine manufacturing processes.
- Make it possible to undertake mass programmes of non-invasive vaccination (for example, using oral vaccines).
The hub is a follow-on from the Vaccines Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub1), which helped the Oxford University-AstraZeneca collaboration produce and deliver 2.9 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to 180 countries worldwide.
The Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub will be led by the University of Bath to transform food production. It aims to facilitate the transition to an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable model in which novel manufacturing systems complement traditional food production.
The development of cell-level processes could result in:
- Lower carbon.
- Less pressure on land use.
- Less dependence on weather.
- Reduced water demand.
- Better animal welfare.
Each hub has received £12 million through the EPSRC Manufacturing Research Hubs for a Sustainable Future initiative. The hubs will run for seven years and involve a variety of partners throughout their lifespans.
Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, EPSRC Executive Chair said:
“COVID-19 has given a graphic demonstration of the importance of vaccine discovery and manufacturing to pandemic preparedness.
“The need to provide plentiful, affordable, nutritious food supplies across the planet is also one of the 21st century’s big challenges.
“Our two new Manufacturing Research Hubs will make a game-changing contribution in these areas. Enabling the UK to provide global leadership, they will generate benefits not just in every region of this country but also at national and international level.”
Further details of the new hubs are available at the EPSRC website.
A second round in support of Manufacturing Research Hubs for a Sustainable Future is open for applications until 10 May 2023, with a total of £55 million available for up to six projects.
(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)