UK's largest charity announces increase in funding to almost £4 billion over 5 years

UK's largest charity announces increase in funding to almost £4 billion over 5 years

5 February 2008 - The Wellcome Trust, the UK's largest independent funder of medical research, today announces plans to increase its spending to almost £4 billion over the next 5 years in what is believed to be the largest ever charitable spend within the UK.

The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 through an endowment in the will of Sir Henry Wellcome. It funds innovative biomedical research in the UK and internationally, to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas and to foster public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.

In 2006/7, the Trust spent £520 million, with highlights including the launch of Wellcome Collection, a new cultural venue in central London, and the publication of results from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, the largest ever study of the genetic influence on common diseases.

Today, the Wellcome Trust announces that it plans to increase its funding from £2.5 billion over the last five years to almost £4 billion over the next five. These increased funds will allow the Wellcome Trust to respond flexibly to medical needs and scientific opportunities. A one-off additional spend of £500 million will allow investment in large scale biomedical science projects around the globe, including:

• the next generation of large-scale genetic studies, requiring state-of-the-art facilities;

• major initiatives in neuroscience and mental health;

• the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, a new medical research centre for London;

• the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, a new partnership with the Department of Health, and other programmes to translate scientific discoveries into new treatments;

• strengthening research capacity in Africa.

"There are huge opportunities to advance medical research to improve health and wellbeing," says Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. "New technologies and approaches are revealing the causes of many major human diseases, providing new opportunities for prevention and treatment. This proposed extra spend will enable us to fund important research aimed at tackling some of the world's major diseases."

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