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Wellcome Leap for Cardiff

20 April 2023

Baby with parent and doctor, receiving check up

Cardiff University has joined a global network dedicated to delivering discoveries in human health over the next decade.

The Wellcome Leap Health Breakthrough Network is the largest, most rapidly ‘activatable’ health research network in the world.

Cardiff is one of 15 UK institutions signed up to Wellcome Leap, a not-for-profit organisation founded by the Wellcome Trust to deliver advances in human health.

Research programmes can be hindered by obstacles. Typically, it can take over a year to finalise and sign a large funding agreement. Furthermore, key ‘jigsaw pieces’ – expert individual knowledge or smaller institutional participation - that can unlock knowledge can be left out of major bids. Breakthroughs require momentum, and diverse capabilities, wherever they exist globally.

Professor Roger Whitaker, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff University, said: “ Academics from a range of disciplines at Cardiff have come together to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society. Wellcome Leap will help eliminate barriers to progress, offering rapid access to funding that can shave months of development timelines. Ambitious future research solutions chime perfectly with Cardiff’s recent investment in University Research and Innovation Institutes (URIIs), maximising our global impact.”

The Wellcome Leap Health Breakthrough Network will help eliminate barriers to progress through the first-of-its-kind Master Academic Research Funding Agreement, which equitably addresses all terms and conditions, including IP (intellectual property), ownership and publication.

Any Cardiff University researcher or group will need to negotiate only the statement of work and cost before work can begin often in days, shaving months or more off development timelines.

Cardiff’s URIIs are the Digital Transformation Innovation Institute, focused on real-world solutions that have ethical, secure, and positive societal and economic focus; the Net Zero Innovation Institute, dedicated to achieving net zero at a technological and social level; the Neuroscience and Mental Health Innovation Institute, tackling mental ill health and neurodegenerative disorders; the Security, Crime, and Intelligence Innovation Institute, developing solutions to crime, global security, and social control, and the Systems Immunity Research Institute, transforming the diagnosis, treatment, and quality-of-life for patients.

The institutes are housed in some of Cardiff University’s most cutting-edge facilities including  sbarc|spark which brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, student start-ups, and academic spinouts; the Translational Research Hub which gathers industry leaders and scientists together to find collaborative scientific solutions to achieving net zero; the Hadyn Ellis Building which brings together experts in conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and stem cell cancer research; and the Heath Park Campus, home to Cardiff University’s School of Medicine.