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Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute

Queen Mary academic awarded prestigious funding on the role of IP in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and supply

Intellectual property law expert in Queen Mary University of London’s School of Law has been awarded highly competitive grant from the British Academy to support ground-breaking work on the role of intellectual property (IP) in COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and supply.

Vials of the covid-19 vaccine

Professor Duncan Matthews has been selected for £100,000 funding from the British Academy, which supports UK and international academic research, career development and wider engagement across the humanities and social sciences.

Chair in Intellectual Property Law, Professor Duncan Matthews will use the 18-month funding to lead an international team of researchers identify solutions to the complex question of how best to scale up vaccine manufacturing and supply of vaccines, while at the same time improving access and affordability.

The project Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for IP Licensing Practices in Vaccine Production will draw lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic by analysing the role of IP licensing practices in the production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, with a particular focus on patents, know-how, trade secrets and regulatory data.

By examining the impact of these practices on vaccine production and supply, the research aims to contribute positively to the ongoing policy debate about pandemic preparedness and response, both at the G7 and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Commenting on the award, Professor Duncan Matthews said: “We are honoured to have received this funding from the British Academy for this timely and important research. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, innovative vaccines were manufactured and supplied at unprecedented speed. IP licensing practices played a critical role in this success, but IP also sometimes contributed to failures, blocking access to vaccines internationally. This research project is an important opportunity to learn lessons from the role that IP played in the COVID-19 response and to contribute positively to pandemic preparedness in the future”.

The research project will be led by Principal Investigator Professor Duncan Matthews (QMUL) with an international research team consisting of co-investigators Professor Ken Shadlen (Department of International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science), Dr. Żaneta Zemła-Pacud (Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences), Professor Esther van Zimmeren (Faculty of Law and GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence, University of Antwerp) and Professor Timo Minssen (Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law, CeBIL, University of Copenhagen).

The funding from the British Academy has been awarded through the Pandemic Preparedness Programme, which aims to identify lessons learned and lessons to learn from the experience within G7 countries of preparing for, adapting and responding to COVID-19 for future pandemic preparedness.



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