The funding will support the establishment of the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute (PCMI) at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with Oxford University Hospitals Trust. The PCMI will research a wide range of cancer therapies, including the use of genomics and molecular diagnostics, advanced cancer imaging, trials of new drugs, minimally invasive surgery and proton beam therapy. The project will receive £35 million of funding from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), and has attracted an additional £75 million in private investment.
The unique mission of the PCMI will be to change the model for the development of new cancer treatments by focusing on patients with early-stage but high-risk cancers (Cancer Research UK's cancers of 'unmet need'), and aiming to increase these cancers' curability.
This is the final project to be announced from the third round of UKRPIF, and brings the total number of successful projects across the three rounds of funding to 27. Universities have received £401 million in public funding, and have secured at least double that investment from businesses or charities, together delivering more than £1.47 billion of new funding for research.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
'I am delighted to announce funding for another major infrastructure project through UKRPIF. This project will transform cancer research in the UK, and will be of great benefit to patients in the future.'
'The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund continues to be a considerable success, demonstrating the ability of UK universities to attract funding from, and work in collaboration with, a wide range of private partners. A call for expressions of interest in round 4 of UKRPIF has recently closed, and I look forward to announcing another group of successful projects in 2015.'
Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said:
'Britain already punches above its weight in science and innovation globally. It's only right that we harness this ability in the fight against cancer. This £110 million investment will help fund lifesaving research and create jobs.'
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said:
'The HEFCE award is tremendous news. It represents a very large investment in the future of cancer medicine. From proton beam therapy and minimally invasive surgery, to improved imaging of cancer and trials of the latest drugs, this research will show how advances in treatments can improve outcomes for cancer patients in Oxfordshire and around the world. We will now work hard to establish the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute at Oxford University along with all our partners.'
The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund supports research facilities in universities, by attracting investment in research and strengthening its contribution to economic growth.
UKRPIF is managed by HEFCE in collaboration with the other UK higher education funding bodies, with proposals assessed by an independent assessment panel.
UKRPIF was launched in May 2012, with £100 million of public finance. In response to the large number of high-quality bids, the Government tripled the amount of public support to £300 million in autumn 2012, to fund a second round of the special funding initiative.
In June 2013, the Government announced a further two rounds of UKRPIF, extending it to 2016-17 and making available an additional £200 million to be allocated over two years, taking the total government investment in the fund to £500 million.
A call for expressions of interest to the fourth round of the competition has recently closed.