Norwich Testing Initiative wins innovation and impact award

28 April 2021

The Norwich Testing Initiative has been recognised in the University of East Anglia’s 2021 Innovation and Impact Awards, with the news coming shortly after the publication of a second paper on the project in the Journal of Public Health.

The highly collaborative project, which was a proof-of-principle study to investigate the laboratory, data, and logistical requirements needed to run a programme of regular COVID-19 testing in an asymptomatic population, has been awarded the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The Norwich Testing Initiative was delivered by the Earlham Institute, the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, the John Innes Centre, the Quadram Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory - all based on Norwich Research Park. Working with partners across the Norwich Research Park, the Earlham Institute established and delivered a testing programme that saw over 3,000 samples from more than 800 people analysed in the first stage of the project.

Building on this success, the second phase of the Norwich Testing Initiative made tests available for the returning students to address concerns over asymptomatic transmission on university campuses.

Sarah Cossey, Director of Operations at the Earlham Institute, said: "It’s been a wonderful project to work on. The partnerships that have been built will enable the Norwich Research Park to be agile and draw upon the wide range of disciplines and expertise that exist across its partners to meet future national and regional life science and health needs."

As well as the publication of two papers, results and materials from the project were made publicly available to help inform the wider research community about how coronavirus community surveillance testing might be targeted in response to localised outbreaks of the virus, as well as providing a template approach for others to adapt and apply in their regions.

The UEA Innovation and Impact Awards shine a light on projects that have created significant impact beyond academia, with the Norwich Testing Initiative as the only nominee for the coveted Chancellor’s award.

The second phase of the Norwich Testing Initiative has recently been published in the Journal of Public Health

Notes to editors.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact:

Greg Jones, Head of Communications, Earlham Institute – or +44 1603 450 895




About Earlham Institute

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a world-leading research Institute focusing on the development of genomics and computational biology. EI is based within the Norwich Research Park and is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) - £5.43m in 2017/18 - as well as support from other research funders. EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

EI offers a state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a training programme through courses and workshops, and an outreach programme targeting key stakeholders, and wider public audiences through dialogue and science communication activities.