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Wellcome-Wolfson partnership makes £30 million investment in UK scientific infrastructure

Fri, 07/02/2010 - 7:35am
EurekAlert

Over £30 million is being invested into large-scale university infrastructure projects courtesy of the Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Awards initiative.

The scheme is intended to facilitate internationally competitive, leading-edge biomedical research in a way that would not otherwise be possible. The projects that have been funded include both new buildings and refurbishment.

The biennial Capital Awards initiative was launched in 2007 to follow the successful Joint Infrastructure and Science Research Innovation Fund partnerships. It provides funding to successful applicants for large scale projects in partnership with the host institution.

This year, the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation are working in partnership to fund the initiative. Together, the two charities are providing over £30 million of investment in UK research infrastructure. Under the initiative, universities from across the UK, including three in Scotland, have been awarded funding of between £3-5 million.

"World-class science needs to be supported by world-class infrastructure, which requires significant investment," says Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. "The Capital Awards partnership between the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation will provide an important injection of cash into our universities at a time when they face uncertainty about future capital funding."

"The programme attracted a strikingly high standard of applications and we are delighted to be funding such exceptional projects," says Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation. "It is also a great pleasure to be working again with the Wellcome Trust, and the partnership is of particular importance when universities are facing challenging financial circumstances."

Professor Simon Duckett at University of York is one of the recipients of the Capital Awards, having secured £4.36 million for the York Centre for Hyperpolarisation in MRI. Hyperpolarisation enables imaging measurements to be made in a few seconds that were previously impossible and the Centre's 10-year programme of inter-disciplinary work will turn this important scientific discovery into specific clinical applications.

"We expect this Wellcome-Wolfson grant to provide the stepping stone necessary to take a very exciting new magnetic resonance imaging technology forward which we hope will become significant in the rapid screening of a wide range of diseases," says Professor Duckett. "This grant will help provide a dedicated building that will bring together the equipment, laboratory facilities and the multidisciplinary research team needed to achieve this goal."

The full list of recipients, including in-principle awards, is:

  • Principal Investigators: Professor Colin Ingram, Newcastle University

    Award: £4.88 million

    Project title: Centre for Translational Systems Neuroscience

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Alan Stitt, Queen's University Belfast

    Award: £4.80 million

    Project title: Development of a Vision Science Research Building

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Andrew Hattersley, Peninsula College of Medicine, Exeter & Plymouth Universities

    Award: £4.75 million

    Project title: Centre for Translational Medicine in Exeter

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Mike Ferguson, University of Dundee

    Award: £4.88 million

    Project title: Centre for Translational and Interdisciplinary Research

  • Principal Investigator: Professor David Porteous, University of Edinburgh

    Award: £3.46 million

    Project title: Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine

  • Principal Investigators: Professors James Neil and Massimo Palmarini, University of Glasgow

    Award: £4.80 million

    Project title: Integrating Veterinary and Human Virology in the Centre for Virus Research

  • Principal Investigators: Professor Simon Duckett, University of York

    Award: £4.36 million

    Project title: Centre of Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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