New multi-million pound health research institute launched today
Press release issued: 22 July 2013
Innovative medical research is key to addressing the most challenging health problems of the 21st century. A new multi-million health research institute, launched today [22 July] at the University of Bristol, will accelerate the translation of medical research into new treatments and therapies to benefit patients.
The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute — named after one of Bristol’s unsung medical pioneers — aims to bring together leading researchers from very disparate disciplines to collaborate on projects that can help deliver better health for the public. The Institute will also help foster collaborative approaches with patients, funding bodies, the NHS and industry.
Co-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol, the Institute also aims to identify cutting-edge projects requiring funding for pivotal stages in the research process or access to specialist expertise or resources.
One pioneering new project that has already benefited from the Institute is the SPHERE (Sensor Platform for HEalthcare in a Residential Environment) study, a project that will develop novel sensor systems to monitor people’s health in the home especially after major operations, when they live alone or have to cope with complex medical problems such as Parkinson’s, depression or a stroke.
The project, which will use advanced engineering solutions to detect abnormal changes in people’s physical activity, gait and mood, has been awarded a £12 million grant from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).
Jeremy Tavaré, Director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute and Professor of Biochemistry at the University, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Elizabeth Blackwell Institute. Our focus will be to identify highly innovative new areas of research and allocate the expertise and funding to help translate new breakthroughs into benefits for patients. We will be supporting a full spectrum of research activity that can impact on better healthcare, including engineering, chemistry and mathematics, right the way through to social, community and clinical sciences. Only through this type of interdisciplinary approach can we solve modern day complex health problems.
“We will also be celebrating the life of Elizabeth Blackwell, one of Bristol's greatest unsung heroes who herself was a pioneer in driving improvements in public health in the 19th century, and look forward to welcoming some fifteen of her descendants, many of whom have travelled from Boston in the US to attend the launch in person.”
Professor Sir Eric Thomas, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “This new institute marks a major milestone for the University and the future of health research. It bridges an important gap in accelerating the medical breakthroughs that can ultimately save and improve people’s lives. It also marks the life of a pioneering woman and doctor born in Bristol.”
The Institute will operate across all faculties of the University. For further information about the Institute or to discuss how it can help you please contact Dr Nina Couzin, Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, University of Bristol, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Bristol in 1821 and became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the USA, against all the odds, and the first woman to be entered into the UK's medical register. She is well known in the US but much less well celebrated in the city and country of her birth.
The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute
The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research is building a dynamic community of researchers from our health and non-health related disciplines to find innovative solutions for some of the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century. The Institute will achieve this through encouraging new ways of working, and also through fostering collaborative approaches between scientists, industry, clinical practitioners and patients.
The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. www.wellcome.ac.uk