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£4.5M biomedical research boost

03 February 2012

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Leading university neuroscience and immunology research which helps translate new knowledge into improved clinical practice and treatments for the benefit of patients is set to receive a £4.5M funding boost.

Cardiff University has secured funding from the Wellcome Trust’s new Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) - a new fund designed to support major scientific research.

NISCHR, the Welsh Government’s National Institute for Social Care and Health Research, is a co-funder of the activity.

The funding will see the creation of two key posts in Translational Immunology and Translational Neuroscience, support new PhD research opportunities and postdoctoral fellows and will also enhance the University’s research infrastructure.

A key outcome will be greater integration of the University’s Wellcome Trust funded portfolio, currently made up of grants totalling around £25M in value.

Professor Paul Morgan, Dean of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, who led the funding bid said: "Biomedical research at Cardiff University remains one of our most successful areas of research activity.

"Our philosophy is simple – to use knowledge from our research to inform translation to help improve health, quality of life, prospects and economic activity locally, nationally and internationally.

"We are delighted that we have secured this major funding award from the Wellcome Trust and NISCHR which will help boost our research capacity and, crucially, help us translate more of our world-leading research for the benefit of patients."

The funding of £750,000 a year from the Wellcome Trust will be supplemented by £1.1M over 3 years from NISCHR as well as Cardiff University’s own funding.

The areas of neuroscience and immunology remain two of the University’s strongest areas of biomedical research.

Research in neurosciences and mental health forms the largest grouping across Cardiff University and includes everything from basic neurobiology to identification of new genetic risk factors.

The research aims to translate fundamental discoveries into greater understanding of what causes neurodevelopmental disorders and major adult psychiatric illness, which remain among the biggest health challenges. Recent research has led to major new genetic findings and understanding in conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Bipolar Disorder and ADHD.

Research into infection, immunity and inflammation has experienced major expansion over the last few years, with world-leading work in translational aspects of immunology and strong links in other areas of the University including public health, pharmacy and engineering.

One area of particular focus has been on arthritis with the creation of the University’s Arthritis Research Campaign Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre (ARCBBC). This dedicated arthritis research centre aims to create a step-change in the treatment, diagnosis and rehabilitation of sufferers.

Professor Keith Lloyd, Head of the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) said: "NISCHR supports research excellence to improve the health and wealth of the people of Wales.

"This initiative gives an added boost to some of the best research groups in Wales."

It is expected that the new funding will help make Cardiff one of the UK’s key centres for translational immunology and neuroscience and help secure additional support and research funding.

Professor Morgan added: "By focusing on areas of strength in neuroscience and immunology we will be able to develop a critical mass of research excellence.

"This funding will enable us to create two key posts, boost our research capacity and position us as a national and international centre for excellence in biomedical research."

Related Links

Wellcome Trust

National Institute for Social Care and Health Research

Arthritis Research Campaign Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre (ARCBBC)

School of Medicine