Seven bilateral research projects win £2.8m in medical funding
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Seven bilateral research projects win £2.8m in medical funding

Promising submissions get support from the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership, including one scheme hoping to 'reverse the effects of ageing

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

LtR: Prof. Rivka Dresner-Polak (grant winner), Prof. Eli Keshet (grant winner), Prof. Ruth Armin (co-chair of the UK-IL Science Committee), Dr. Amnon Buxboim (grant winner), HMA Neil Wigan, Prof. Ittai Ben Porath, Dr. Dina Zur (representing grant winner, Prof. Anat Lowenstein)
LtR: Prof. Rivka Dresner-Polak (grant winner), Prof. Eli Keshet (grant winner), Prof. Ruth Armin (co-chair of the UK-IL Science Committee), Dr. Amnon Buxboim (grant winner), HMA Neil Wigan, Prof. Ittai Ben Porath, Dr. Dina Zur (representing grant winner, Prof. Anat Lowenstein)

Seven research projects combining the best British and Israeli minds have won £2.8 million in medical funding, with one hoping to “reverse the effects of ageing”.

The winning projects were announced on Wednesday evening after the British Council and the British Embassy in Israel identified the most promising bilateral submissions in the field of ageing.

Earlier this year, researchers in British and Israeli institutions were asked to propose cutting edge three-year projects on which they would work cooperatively.

The funded projects include one between the University of Oxford and Hadassah Medical Center who will try to understand why bones are much more fragile in old people with Type 1 diabetes.

Another, between the University of Cambridge and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “will provide clues as to how the effects of age might be reversed therapeutically”.

It will examine how the brain is able to induce harmful in central nerve system stem cells, and how are the physical signals of the brain transmitted to a central nerve system stem cell to change its function.

Other winning projects will make the most of “dramatic new developments in brain imaging methods” to better understand diseases such as dementia, while another will initiate “a brain database in Israel”.

The projects will be awarded nearly £2.8 million in total from the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX), a £10 million programme to support cutting edge UK-Israeli research.

Millions of pounds have already been spent on bilateral UK-Israel research in fields such as regenerative medicine, and British Ambassador in Israel Neil Wigan hailed the funding awards as part of a wider effort.

“These cutting-edge research collaborations not only position the UK and Israel at the forefront of ageing research world-wide, but also reaffirm the close connection between British and Israeli academic communities,” he said.

“Through these meaningful and sustainable collaborations, we can together tackle universal ongoing challenges”.

LtR: Andy Williams, Chief Operating Officer, British Council, Dr. David Wright, Queens University Belfast, Dr. Ioana Olan, Cambridge, Prof. Lynne Cox, Oxford, Marieke Rienks, Kings College, His Excellency Mark Regev, Ann Berger, CEO (Rosetrees), Dr Vineeth Rajkumar, Head of Research (Rosetrees), Ravit Capauner, British Council, Sorrel Bickley, Head of research (MS Society), Ben Barlev (TAU Trust), Shira Schnizer, Cambridge University, Development Office

A founding partner of BIRAX is the London-based Pears Foundation, whose chair Sir Trevor Pears this week said it had now “earned its excellent reputation for successfully nurturing UK–Israel scientific exchange for the advancement of knowledge”.

He added that BIRAX would “have an enduring impact and legacy… we are delighted to be part of a family of committed partners”.

Bilateral links in the field were boosted in April when Britain’s former ambassador to Israel was appointed to lead the forthcoming NHS digital revolution.

Matthew Gould, Britain’s man in Tel Aviv from 2010-15, who helped establish BIRAX in 2011, is now chief executive of NHSX, a Government unit charged with setting national policy and developing best practice for NHS technology, digital and data.

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