Wales aims to become ‘centre of excellence’ for research with £18m Welsh Government investment
More than £18m is set to be invested over the next three years in major health and social care research projects, it has been announced.
Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed that £6m a year will be ploughed into eight dedicated research centres and units across Wales.
Diabetes Research Unit, Swansea University, led by Stephen Bain, will receive £1.5m of funding.
The Cardiff University-led Wales Cancer Research Centre, which works alongside Swansea and Bangor Universities and Velindre NHS Trust, will receive £4.5m over the next three years.
And the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), which looks into the impact of mental illness and learning disabilities, will be given £3m.
Other recipients include the Wales Kidney Research Unit (£1.2m), the The Wales BRAIN Unit (£1.2m), and the Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research (£2.7m).
The confirmation of the three-year funding package comes as the Welsh Government unveils a major restructuring of its health and social care research arm.
Health and Care Research Wales, formerly known as NISCHR, aims to ensure future investment by the Welsh Government in health and social care research “supports and develops excellence” and has “a positive impact on public services and the Welsh economy”.
It wants Wales to become a centre of excellence for public involvement in research, where researchers and the public can work together to deliver research which matters to the people of Wales.
National Centre for Mental Health director Professor Ian Jones said: “Over the next three years this funding will allow us to widen our scope and become a truly Wales-wide organisation, developing close links with colleagues at Swansea and Bangor Universities.
“We hope to recruit thousands more members of the Welsh public to add to the 4,500 who have already helped us in our efforts to better understand mental health and illness.
“Through greater understanding we believe that we can contribute to better diagnosis, treatment and support for the one in 4 of us who are affected by mental ill health at some point in our lives.
“Alongside our work in this area, we will also continue working to tackle the harmful stigma that still surrounds many mental health conditions by engaging with the public throughout Wales.
“The renewal is a testament to the commitment and hard work of all involved with NCMH – both our staff and our research volunteers. This is a very exciting time for mental health research in Wales, and we look forward to taking NCMH forward to the next stage of its evolution.”
Mr Gething said: “The Welsh Government wants Wales to be internationally recognised for excellent health and social care research which has a positive impact on the health, wellbeing and prosperity of people in Wales.
“The research our universities conduct today will determine the care our NHS and social services deliver tomorrow.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for government-backed research; one which builds on the outstanding endeavours of the past to ensure that the new Health and Care Research Wales is able to purposefully address the challenges we face in Wales today and in the future.
“There is no doubt that research and development plays a central role in improving health and wellbeing, effective services and wealth generation.
“The £18m package of investment will fund the vital, high-quality research needed to turn our aspiration of achieving better health and social care for everyone in Wales into reality.”
Where the money will be allocated:
- Diabetes Research Unit, Swansea University – £1.5m
- National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff, Bangor and Swansea universities – £3m
- Wales Cancer Research Centre, Cardiff, Bangor and Swansea universities, Velindre NHS Trust – £4.5m
- Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research, Cardiff, Bangor, South Wales and Swansea universities – £2.7m
- NISCHR Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, Swansea, Bangor and Cardiff universities – £1.8m
- NISCHR Centre for Population Health Research, Swansea and Cardiff universities and Public Health Wales – £2.25m
- Wales Kidney Research Unit, Cardiff University – £1.2m
- The Wales BRAIN Unit, Cardiff University – £1.2m
- NWORTH Clinical Trials Unit