University of Warwick
Matt received an ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant in 2018 during his ERC Starter Grant period. His research explores organic, polymer and carbohydrate chemistry to address global healthcare issues. In particular, it aimed to use macromolecular cryoprotectants to help freeze stem cells. Currently, solvents must be added to the cells and less than 100% are recovered. Matt and his team’s discoveries have reduced the amount of solvents that are needed.
The Proof-of-Concept Grant enabled Matt and his team to move their research from basic science to translational applications. Since completion of the Grant, the team has been awarded a £300,000 grant from Innovate UK to set up a spin-out company, CryoLogyx. This has been further backed by private investors.
When asked about the value of the ERC Proof-of-Concept grant, Matt said:
"This particular funding as an add on to the ERC starter grant was really helpful – it is unique in that it meant we could continue our fundamental research in the core grant but enlarge our team to explore a real application. Having the funding, ensured the researcher hired on the project benefitted from the shared skills and knowledge of the team, as opposed to a more traditional scheme which funds translation after a project has finished. This is unique to the ERC, due to the long-term nature of the funding provided."