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What is translational research?

Translational research helps turn early-stage innovations into new health products, advancing the innovation to the point where it becomes attractive for further development by the medical industry or healthcare agencies.

Although research in academia and in companies produces many new discoveries and inventions that have the potential to improve health, turning those ideas into deliverable products can prove extremely difficult.

For example, an inventor may need to do further work on the proof of concept of a technology to link skills in the physical sciences to those in biology and medicine.They may also need to bring together the right combination of business expertise to develop the product and position it within the unmet medical need market - anticipating ahead what the market will be looking for, and how the concept will be introduced alongside the competition.

Translation research helps to overcome such obstacles, bridging the gap between basic research and a deliverable product. The funding schemes provided by Innovations at the Wellcome Trust therefore aim to advance the development of an innovation to the point where it becomes attractive for others - such as venture capital firms, industry or public-private partnerships - to take up the challenge of producing a product for the market.

The diagram below shows the gap in the development of a product where Innovations typically operates.

The translational gap
The translational gap
The path from basic research to deliverable product.
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