We are inviting expressions of interest from eligible institutions to procure, install and operate a total-body positron emission tomography (PET) facility as part of a national programme. This programme will be spread over two geographically-distinct sites.
Funding is also available for investment in associated radiochemistry facilities. Proposals should include plans for utilising this investment, either at the lead research organisation or a collaborating organisation.
If you are successful at the expression of interest stage, you must demonstrate within your full application that you will provide a facility that will be able to span the breadth of scientific interests and applications for total-body PET across the whole biomedical research community.
Your proposal should include plans to manage access for a diverse range of users who will have conflicting requirements of the system.
An overarching director will direct across the scanner and radiochemistry sites and be available for helping to stimulate community interest across academic and industry users.
The central programme will also help to manage access to the facility by external users, including industry, and coordinate access to the data platform. You will need to engage collaboratively with the overarching programme and other sites, as well as the broader PET community.
Pending approval of the business case by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), this award would be funded to the successful applicants as part of the UKRI Infrastructure Fund.
It is expected that two awards will be made through this funding opportunity to host the scanner sites. It is possible that the two awards may be staggered with one award in the financial year 2023 to 2024 and one in the financial year 2024 to 2025.
Applicants will be asked to express a preference for the faster or slower timeline. The duration of the awards will be a maximum of five years.
Host institutions will be expected to articulate how they will operate the facility beyond the initial five-year funding as part of the full application.
Apart from the scanner itself, it is anticipated that costs totalling up to £5 million can be requested, including:
- maintenance costs
- a contribution towards refurbishment for the scanner facility
- staff costs (for example, facility manager, technicians and nurses needed to operate the facility).
Institutional contributions, cash or in kind are anticipated as part of the full bid submission.
Additionally, up to £4 million is available to the programme for radiochemistry investment and you should outline in your proposal how your organisation, or a collaborating partner, could use some or all of this investment to support one or both facilities.