Press release

Wellcome Trust sets out ten-year plan to tackle major medical challenges

The Wellcome Trust today unveils an ambitious ten-year plan challenging researchers to find bold solutions to the most important questions facing our understanding of health and disease.

This long-term vision will enable the brightest minds to push the boundaries of research, and make discoveries leading to new treatments, technologies and preventative strategies that can benefit patients and improve health. Wellcome Trust funds will provide outstanding researchers with the time, resources and infrastructure necessary to make significant advances.

The focus of the strategy is to support the very best researchers to address five challenges aimed at transforming human and animal health over the next decade. These are:

  • Maximising the health benefits of genetics and genomics: Understanding how genes affect our health and disease to develop new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent illness.
  • Understanding the brain: Exploring how the billions of nerves in the brain allow us to think, learn and remember, so that we can find new approaches to treating mental illness and neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
  • Combating infectious disease: Examining the link between infectious disease in animals and humans to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases that kill millions of people worldwide every year.
  • nvestigating development, ageing and chronic disease: Understanding how the human body develops, functions and ages, so that we can tackle the growing burden of chronic disease across the world.
  • Connecting environment, nutrition and health: Developing new initiatives to examine critical issues such as malnutrition and obesity, and the health impacts of climate change and population migration.

"The remarkable progress in medical research over the past ten years, catalysed in part by the completion of the Human Genome Project, provides us with extraordinary opportunities as we move forward into the next decade," says Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust.

"We face many serious challenges, including ageing populations, the threat of global climate change and the emergence of new diseases. The Wellcome Trust is extraordinarily well positioned to give researchers the freedom and security to pursue the questions that will provide answers to these challenges. But scientific discoveries - and their application to patient benefit - take time, and that is why we are setting out our plans for the next decade."