Joyce Tait delivers keynote presentation at Bloomsbury SET conference

18 March 2021

Innogen co-director Joyce Tait gave a keynote presentation at the virtual Bloomsbury SET conference focused on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. Her talk in the first session of the conference: “Interdisciplinary knowledge exchange to tackle global health challenges” highlighted some of the Innogen’s work on regulatory adaptation to support the development of new antimicrobial drugs and rapid diagnostics.

The event took place on the 22nd February and was chaired by Dr Emma Tomlinson, Chair of The Bloomsbury SET Steering Group and Head of Research Development, Royal Veterinary College, University of London. Following presentations by Prof. Joyce Tait and Dr Jeremy Salt, Chief Scientific Officer, GALVmed, there was a panel discussion in which questions submitted by participants were addressed.

Joyce presented Innogen research showing that there has already been considerable regulatory adaptation to enable more rapid and cost-effective development of new drugs in the US and the EU (see report). However, this is not the case for human diagnostic devices, which are arguably just as important as treatments and vaccines in tackling infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. She also presented some results from the Diagnostic innovation and livestock (DIAL) project suggesting that regulatory adaptation may not be enough for the development and deployment of rapid or point-of-care diagnostic tests for farm animals (see publication).

She also spoke about what can be done to support regulatory adaptation. In 2018, the Council for Science and Technology wrote a letter to the Prime Minister highlighting the importance of making regulatory systems more proportionate and adaptive to the needs of innovative technologies to meet the targets set in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy. In response to the letter, the Regulatory Horizons Council was set up to provide government with impartial, expert advice on the regulatory reform required to support the rapid and safe introduction of technological innovations. From a list of 31 potential priority areas, in 2020 the Council decided to focus on the following four areas: genetic technologies, fusion energy, unmanned aircraft and medical devices. As part of the Regulatory Horizons Council, Joyce is looking forward to helping adapt regulatory systems to the needs of innovative technologies.

During the panel discussion, questions regarding the effects of current funding and reward systems in academia on technological innovation were discussed. Throughout the week, the Bloomsbury SET conference explored these topics and others, such as how best to connect expertise from different disciplines, to further research translation, commercialization and impact in the field emerging infectious disease.

"It's always interesting to see how Innogen's work is relevant to a broad range of today's challenging issues, in this case antimicrobial resistance and the use of diagnostic tests, making links with the work of GALVmed as described by Jeremy Salt in his presentation," said Prof. Joyce Tait, Co-Director, Innogen Institute, The University of Edinburgh.

The Bloomsbury SET was established in 2018 as a Knowledge Exchange platform, to accelerate the delivery of innovative scientific and technical solutions in the field of Healthcare and Medicines. It connects the capabilities of four Colleges of the University of London, together with the London International Development Centre, and supports an interdisciplinary One Health to combat the threat from infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance. The Bloomsbury SET is funded by Research England.

Further information:

Videos of the conference can be found here: