​Uppsala University Joins Wellcome Leap Global Network

Uppsala University has joined the Leap Health Breakthrough Network, a global group of 21 leading academic and research institutions, representing a network of over 150,000 researchers across six continents, committed to solving the world’s most serious health challenges — such as cancer and infectious diseases — at record speed. Wellcome Leap is a US-based non-profit organisation founded by the Wellcome Trust to accelerate innovations that benefit global health.

“Global health challenges must be addressed from many angles and perspectives. We are proud to take part in this urgent collaborative effort,” says Anders Hagfeldt, Vice-Chancellor, Uppsala University.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of tackling urgent, large-scale health challenges quickly and across disciplines, organisations, and borders. It is imperative that good ideas are identified and funded quickly, and that researchers across many institutions can build solutions together.

Currently it can take as long as a year to finalise a research funding agreement, and when collaboration is required, work frequently cannot begin until all parties are signed — further prolonging the delay. What’s more, key components needed to catalyse innovation sometimes come from individual researchers or smaller institutions that are often left out of major research initiatives. Breakthroughs require momentum, and diverse capabilities, wherever they exist globally.

The Leap Health Breakthrough Network will help eliminate barriers to progress thanks to the first-of-its-kind Master Academic Research Funding Agreement (MARFA), which equitably addresses all terms and conditions, including IP, ownership, and publication. Now that Uppsala University has signed the MARFA, it will need to negotiate only the statement of work and cost before funds can be transmitted and work can begin. Often in days, shaving months or more off development timelines.

“Improving mental health is one of the leading global health challenges of our time. How timely and exciting that Wellcome Leap opens opportunities for bold and unconventional approaches,” says Emily A. Holmes, Professor at the Department of Psychology, Uppsala University.

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