UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Breaking the silos symposium: Dispelling myths and building bridges

6 December 2021

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology partnered up with CRUK UCL Centre & Roche to host an honest conversation with the audience and specialists from Academia & Industry, to dispel myths on working across sectoral boundaries and to discuss new collaborative paths for the future

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This symposium, held on 2nd November 2021, was attended by over 100 guests from several departments across UCL and has received positive feedback. 88% of polled participants reported they would likely participate in an Industry-Academia collaboration, while 100% said they are interested in similar follow up events. 

The concept for the “Breaking the silos” symposium first emerged from the conversations between Professor Tammaryn Lashley (Director of Research at Queen Square Brain bank and Professor of Neuroscience, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology), Professor Timothy Eisen (Global Franchise Head for GU Oncology in Roche and Professor of Medical Oncology, University of Cambridge) and Dr Ana Faro (EDI Project Manager, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) on how we can forge a new collaborative ecosystem that benefits both sectors and expand career opportunities for scientists at all levels of Academia. 

“It became clear in our conversations that some of the biggest roadblocks to setting up successful cross-sectoral partnerships are long held beliefs on what working in each sector entails. We found imperative to set the tone right and decided to hold a first event centred on dispelling myths, to have an honest conversation and set realistic expectations on what an Academic-Industry collaboration can achieve”, said Dr. Faro. 

 When asked what would attract them to establish a partnership with a pharmaceutical company, our community of scientists highlighted the possibility to bring together different skillsets to tackle common challenges and shared goals. During the "Breaking the silos" event, Professor Tammaryn Lashley presented a collaborative model to be explored by the QsIoN: a consortium around neurological diseases to look at the continuum of care – from studying the single molecule to translational application – where the QsIoN and Roche could drive collaborative projects and fund joint streams of research. 

Professor Lashley said “Universities and Industry have complementary skillsets that when combined can benefit the research and development landscape and expedite translational outcomes. Therefore, building a consortia would bring these two entities together for the benefit of translational research. Our vision is to provide predetermined pathways to expedite basic research into real world applications, by supporting PIs and project managers to negotiate the two very different spaces of academia and industry.” 
Dr. Faro said, “our aim is to bring the QsIoN community together, to sit at the table with Roche and co-design this collaborative venture”. 

As follow up, the organisers will host a smaller event for the QsIoN community where we will start to identify areas and projects for potential collaboration. If you are interested in learning more about this initiative and have your voice heard on how we can bring this project to life, feel free to contact Professor Tammaryn Lashley or Dr Ana Faro (a.faro@ucl.ac.ukto discuss your ideas.  


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