£30m funding prize challenges cardiac researchers to change the world

24 Jan 2019

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A major UK charity is offering £30m in funding to whoever can tackle one of the world’s biggest killers: cardiovascular disease.

In one of the largest research grants of its kind in history, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is hoping to take hold of a disease that kills approximately 17.9m people a year, or 31pc of all deaths worldwide.

As part of the Big Beat Challenge, the foundation is offering £30m to teams of researchers from across the world to specifically identify a key problem in any heart or circulatory disease, and propose a transformational solution.

Starting from today (24 January), research teams have almost six months to submit their visionary proposals, which should emphasise the essence of the idea and how it would not be possible unless they receive the significant amount of funding.

An international panel with a broad range of expertise will be determining which project would bring the most benefit to the world, including the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, as well as Canada’s chief science adviser, Dr Mona Nemer.

Once a shortlist of the best proposals is drawn up and these projects are given seed funding, they will be given a further six months to develop their final proposals.

Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the BHF, said: “This is an unmissable opportunity. It is one of the most inclusive funding opportunities of its kind, with no boundaries to define the diversity of expertise or geographic location of the teams. The ideas can come from anywhere and tackle any heart or circulatory condition.

“The Big Beat Challenge is looking to enable innovation by mobilising experts to collaborate and tackle heart and circulatory diseases in ways that are different to anything that has been done before.”

The call for outline applications is set to close on 14 June 2019.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic