Press release

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

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 £3m and £5m.

"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 the University of York is one of the recipients of the Capital Awards, having secured £4.36m for the York Centre for Hyperpolarisation in MRI. Hyperpolarisation enables imaging measurements that were previously impossible to be made in a few seconds and the Centre's ten-year programme of interdisciplinary 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 Investigator: 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