£1m fund for pathology innovation as partnership celebrates first anniversary

Published: 28th March 2022

A pathology partnership is celebrating its first anniversary with the launch of an initiative making thousands of pounds available for ground-breaking research projects.

SYNLAB’s partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts – known as Viapath – was formed in April last year, to deliver and transform NHS pathology services across South East London.

Twelve months on, and ahead of the creation of one of the largest, purpose-built pathology ‘hub’ laboratories in the UK, SYNLAB and Viapath have unveiled the Innovation Accelerator Fund (IAF). The £1 million funding pot provides a unique support opportunity for projects that drive innovation in the pathology field, encourage scientific research and development, and ultimately develop services that benefit patients.

Viapath employees and everyone within the South East London pathology partnership – including those in non-laboratory roles, students and colleagues within the Trusts – will have the opportunity to apply for up to £500,000 for a single project, depending on its scope and scale.

As an organisation with the needs of people at its heart, we want to help lead the way in service development for the benefit of our patients.
The Innovation Accelerator Fund is hard and fast evidence of our commitment to this core purpose, and we are delighted to be able to support talented individuals whose drive and ambition match ours.
Previous projects to have been supported by Viapath include the early adoption of Oxford nanopore sequencing and national standardisation of some of the assays used as part of the Newborn Screening Programme, so we have a strong track record in this area.

Dominic Harrington, Viapath’s Chief Scientific Officer

The IAF operates as a three-tier funding system. The application window for the first two tiers – the ‘Agile’ and ‘Progressive’ awards – is now open, inviting individuals to apply for up to £75,000 to support an innovative project or idea.

Our people have proved their expertise with some major scientific accomplishments, whether it be diagnosing illnesses or devising new ways of fighting viruses, infections and diseases.
Across all our businesses we work tirelessly to advance scientific and clinical practice, and the Innovation Accelerator Fund is a really important way in which we do this. It’s an example of our commitment to evolving and enhancing the skills of our workforce, and that commitment is one of the reasons so many people choose SYNLAB as the place to build their careers.

Mark Dollar, Chief Executive Officer at Viapath and SYNLAB UK & Ireland

Calling on the knowledge gained through its existing and successful NHS partnerships, and in line with the NHS’s own clinical vision and strategy for the future of pathology services, SYNLAB is working with Viapath to implement a ‘hub and spoke’ pathology model. It will build state-of-the-art laboratories that offer faster, more consistent and higher-quality testing services to help speed up diagnosis and clinical decision making. This will enable more people to be cared for in the community and support better management of patient flows within hospitals.

SYNLAB and the NHS have demonstrated in their other UK hub and spoke partnerships that separating urgent from non-urgent pathology workflows can dramatically improve testing turnaround times, while freeing up valuable NHS hospital estate to be used for other patient services. More information about the Innovation Accelerator Fund and how to apply can be found here.

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