What is a VIA?
Venture and Innovation Awards allow short-term projects to take advantage of innovative opportunities and are designed to leverage additional funding. For every pound spent by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to fund a VIA, an additional four pound has been leveraged from an external agency.
External agencies that may also fund projects we have awarded a VIA to include industry bodies, research councils, the National Institute for Health Research and biomedical research charities
Applying for a VIA
The VIA programme is structured as a competitive leverage funding programme, whereby funds will only be awarded following success of an application to an external funding body. External funding bodies include government funding bodies, academic institutions and other medical research charities where applications undergo peer review.
We agree VIA funding in principle prior to submission of external funding body applications. Please contact us well in advance of your submission in order for us to consider your application so we can add a letter of support.
The VIA programme relies on the science being peer reviewed by the external funding body, thus we can only consider applications where this peer review will take place. For industry awards we request evidence of internal review prior to awarding funding, please contact us for the process.
If you wish to apply for a VIA, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIA research we are funding
Since we started funding these awards in 2013 we have awarded over 50 grants across a range of different research areas. Descriptions of the types of research we’re funding are listed below, where you can find out more about ongoing projects in the research areas that interest you.
You can also see who we have partnered with in each VIA, using our colour-coded labels for: NIHR partner, Charity Partner, Pharmaceutical Partner, Academic Partner, Government Agency Partner and Registry Study.
The timing of lung exacerbations or a worsening of CF symptoms can be very hard to predict. We’re currently funding studies in children and adults to understand more about them. If we can predict when they might happen, then we can treat them quicker and ultimately aim to make them happen less often.
Find out more about research into lung exacerbations here.
While the symptoms of CF are well known, better ways to manage them are continually being developed, helping to keep people healthier and reducing their effects on quality of life. Our research projects range from ensuring that the way lung function is measured is as accurate as possible, to developing drugs that can help break down the mucus in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis.
Find out more about research into managing symptoms here.
People with CF can have a range of different lung infections, and it’s important to know which infections are present and how to treat them. Understanding how bacteria work can lead researchers to spot weaknesses that can be targeted with drugs. The research we’re currently funding includes learning more about the bacteria to identify their weak spots, discovering how to disrupt the formation of ‘biofilms’ that cause antibiotic resistance and developing methods to speed up the detection of bacteria in samples from people with cystic fibrosis.
Find out more about research into understanding and treating infections here.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition, caused by damage to the ‘CFTR’ gene in both copies of the gene. The location of damage within the genes can vary from person to person – this is what is known as a “genotype”. Increasingly treatments are focussed on treating people with specific CF genotypes. The research we fund in this area ranges from ways to permanently correct the CFTR gene using gene editing, to early research that is working out ways to repair lung damage caused by cystic fibrosis.
Find out more about genetic research here.
Gene therapy consortium
There are different ways to approach therapies for cystic fibrosis. As well as drug therapies, the Trust is investing in gene therapies, which work to replace the damaged gene – in the case of cystic fibrosis, the CFTR gene – with a healthy copy of the gene. The Gene Therapy Consortium is a group of researchers based at Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh who are working together to develop gene therapies for cystic fibrosis. Currently, our support for the GTC involves a £500,000 investment over two years from 2017 – 2019.