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Centenary Campaign: Top five discoveries

19 December 2014

Bristol's £100 million Centenary Campaign comes to a close at the end of 2014, and more than 20,200 alumni and friends have made a gift to the University over the course of the campaign.

Here are just five areas where your gifts have unlocked groundbreaking discoveries.

1. Breathing new life into newborns

Every year, around 700 babies in the UK will die or suffer permanent brain damage because of oxygen deprivation at birth. But, in 2010, Riley Joyce was the first baby to receive a new treatment – a combination of cooling and xenon gas, pioneered by Professor Marianne Thoresen and Professor Andrew Whitelaw – to protect him from harm.

The treatment is now in its final stages of clinical trial, and was one of the strands of research recognised when Bristol was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize last year.

2. Bringing global change

Since its launch in 2010, Bristol’s Cabot Institute has carried out fundamental and responsive research into the environmental future of our world. Our researchers have influenced governmental policy about ocean acidification, flown unmanned vehicles over dangerous areas to monitor hostile environments, created better mapping tool for volcanic ash clouds, and assessed both carbon emissions and sea level rise.

3. The future’s bright, the future’s quantum

The next generation of faster and safer computers – which use light instead of electricity – are becoming a reality. Professor Jeremy O’Brien and his team have opened access to a quantum cloud, made mobile phone usage safer and manipulated single particles of light onto a silicon chip for the first time – a major step forward in the race to build a quantum computer.

4. Answering Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's directly affects nearly half a million people in the UK and more than 35 million people worldwide. But, thanks to gifts to the Centenary Campaign, Bristol researchers have made groundbreaking discoveries that are improving our understanding of the condition, including a link between dementia and Parkinson’s and a blood pressure drug that could delay the onset of dementia.

Gifts to the campaign have also helped enhance the South West Dementia Brain Bank, which allows researchers to include detailed patient histories alongside their brains. Without the Dementia Brain Bank, none of these discoveries would have been possible.

5. Ahead of the pack

Since 2012, a new animal welfare tool has helped improve the lives of millions of dairy cows across the UK, and in 2013, new management strategies for farmers have enhanced quality of life for hens too, by improving their plumage and reducing hen peckingAssureWel is a five-year collaborative project, funded by the Tubney Charitable Trust, that has provided farmers around the world with new approaches to safeguard the welfare of animals. 

Every gift Bristol receives before the close of the Centenary Campaign at the end of December will have a real impact on future developments in these areas, and many more. To find out more, or to make a gift, please visit bristol.ac.uk/centenarycampaign.