Understanding Translation

The Translational Research Team is here to help progress your fundamental research findings into improvements in human health and economic benefit. We will support you to overcome the hurdles encountered while navigating the Translational Pathway.

The University of Birmingham were awarded a Wellcome Institutional Translational Partnership Award (iTPA) in 2019. The iTPA is specifically designed to accelerate translation of fundamental and clinical research findings towards patient benefit and / or commercial impact, by addressing critical barriers to translation.

Translating ground-breaking fundamental discoveries to improve human health is no easy task. This involves numerous sequential steps from early proof-of-principle, through pre-clinical evaluation, to clinical trials and clinical adoption. The earlier you consider how your research can translate into healthcare benefit, the better. The Translational Research Team (TRT) can offer early support in:

  • the identification of the translational potential of your research
  • understanding the clinical need
  • identifying and mitigating risks
  • We are also able to provide access to expertise and mentoring to support investigators from early conception of the study to late stage development and clinical implementation.

The key points to consider wherever you are on your translational journey are highlighted in this video by our Expert in Residence, David Fox.

Expert in Residence, David Fox - Translation Top Ten Countdown

Intellectual property and whether you have freedom to operate are some of the key considerations in translational research. We can help you assess the initial IP potential of your idea and help you to develop that potential by working closely together with UoB Enterprise. It is essential no early disclosures are made prior to protection of your novel idea or technology. A disclosure can arise from a number of activities such as a poster presentation at a conference, a journal publication, a PhD or MSc advert, a thesis viva with an external examiner or even details shared in your own social media feeds to list just a few. Early engagement with the TRT and UoB Enterprise is important, and we will work with your disclosure timelines to ensure the technology is protected, before the disclosure is made.

You can access more information and training materials on IP and commercialisation through our Resources & Networks page.

Our team can tailor bespoke support for you based on your translational research stage. In order to tailor the most suitable support, please complete our New Enquiries Form to provide us with a good starting point to begin conversations to discuss next steps.

Establishing Collaborative Links

A key question with all translational work is whether there is a researcher prepared to conduct the research and whether there is a need or want for this innovation in a clinical setting – these are referred to as “academic push” and “clinical pull”.

Successful translational research is dependent on a multidisciplinary approach to overcome the various barriers to translation to accelerate development along the translational pathway. Collaboration between laboratory and clinical researchers as well as cross-discipline experts including engineers, chemists and industry is essential. Early engagement with patients and the public is also key to determine relevance of the research to the ultimate end user.


As a team, we can help facilitate and foster relationships between academics and clinicians alike to get the most out of your research and bridge the gap between fundamental science and science for patient benefit. The earlier this collaboration is forged the better. If you would like introductions, please get in touch with the TRT and we will work to connect you appropriately.


Another important consideration is whether industry engagement is warranted. Understanding where your project is in the development pathway and the right time to engage with industry can be tricky to navigate and speaking with your College Business Engagement Partner can be useful to understand the process. The Business Engagement Team works with key regional, national and international partners to develop academic-industry links and strategic business partnerships with the overall aim of generating positive reputation, impact and income.


Involving patients and members of the public – Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) - from early stages of translational research will help you to understand what matters most to those with lived experience of the condition. Input from patients is unique and invaluable and will help you to improve the design and delivery of your research, and ensure developments are focused in areas that will make the most difference to their lives. You can gain access to more information through our Resources & Networks. For more information, get in touch with the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Team at ppi@contacts.bham.ac.uk.