A team of nine from the Wellcome Trust, the second largest charitable foundation in the world, visited the Norwich Research Park (NRP) on the 13th August 2017.
The cross-NRP visit involving the Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute Bioscience, John Innes Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, Sainsbury Laboratory and University of East Anglia (UEA) was organised and hosted by Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager, Medical & Life Sciences, Research & Innovation Division, UEA and supported by Prof Matt Hutchings, Associate Dean of Innovation, Science Faculty, UEA.
The day began in the lecture theatre of the Queen’s Building with an overview of the Wellcome Trust by Roger Blake, Head of External Relations and this was followed by a Q&A session chaired by Dr Candace Hassall, Head of Research Affairs. Participants then enjoyed a delicious networking lunch at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Following lunch a series of four workshops took place: Early career funding; Funding for senior science lecturers and researchers; Our new Innovations strategy and funding opportunities and Support for researchers in Public & Population Health and Our Planet, Our Health.
These highly informative and interactive workshops were followed by a series of afternoon meetings between Wellcome representatives and individual Principal Investigators from across the NRP. There we also meetings held between the Wellcome and senior leaders from each institution. In addition, there was time for brief tour of the research park which is unique because its 3,000 researchers work within a 1km radius – facilitating collaboration and communication and access to research equipment and facilities across all partners.
In total, over 100 researchers drawn from across the NRP participated in the day and there was a real sense of confidence that the event will catalyse additional submissions for funding, particularly cross-institutional ones.