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Reaching for new horizons

15 September 2017

Inspired by research at the University of Bristol, alumnus Dr Jonathan de Pass (MB ChB 1979) and his wife Georgina recently donated £1 million to boost Bristol’s research capability. Their donation will be transformative and will support many priority research areas such as population health and cardiovascular sciences, and will also look at supporting research in Parkinson’s disease and Bristol’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

What motivated you to support medical research at Bristol?

Jonathan: I’ve spent most of my business career involved in some aspect of the life science industry and my study of Medicine at Bristol has been a huge part of this journey. Bristol has enormous strengths in many areas of biomedical sciences and Georgina and I were inspired by the innovative education programmes and cutting-edge research which is being carried out in areas such as population health science, cardiovascular science, and neuroscience.

On a recent visit to Bristol I was particularly inspired by the ground-breaking research being carried out as part of the Population Health Specialist Research Institute by Professor George Davey-Smith. Parkinson’s disease is also one of the many areas that we are looking to support. My father was a sufferer for many years and died of the disease, so we know the tragic consequences and disability that this disease can bring.

What do you hope the impact of your donation will be?

Jonathan: It would be fantastic to find the answers to the big questions that Bristol’s researchers are asking. I hope the impact of our donation will be to bring new talent to Bristol and develop Bristol’s research engine by building on existing and new areas of research.

Why do you think it’s important to support universities today?

Jonathan: I’ve long believed that solutions to many of the world’s problems are rooted in high-quality academic research. Ultimately it is this type of research which will allow us to improve the health of individuals and we need to train up the next generation of researchers to keep these improvements coming. It is also about giving back and acknowledging the lifelong advantages that a university education can give you. Giving something back if you can afford to is rewarding because in a small way you can stay involved in the development of your university.

Further information

For more information about Jonathan's gift, please visit our news pages. If you are interested in supporting ground-breaking research at Bristol please visit

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