13 Feb 2013   |   Network Updates

Cambridge named one of Wellcome Trust’s Centres for Global Health Research

The Wellcome Trust has named the University of Cambridge as the site of one of its five Centres for Global Health Research.

The Centres will be located at the University of Cambridge, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for the Bloomsbury Universities, University of Liverpool in partnership with University of Glasgow, Imperial College London and University of Sussex. The Wellcome Trust has committed more than £3m to these Centres over the next five years.

Centres for Global Health Research are intended to support researchers working in public health and tropical medicine to develop their careers, and foster interchange between institutions in the UK and those based in low- and middle-income countries.

Scientific infrastructure, research training and mentorship are weak and under-resourced in many parts of Africa, contributing to a failure to apply modern technologies and medical advances to the health challenges still facing much of the continent. Because of these many difficulties, the Centre in Cambridge will be working with researchers in parts of Africa.

The Cambridge Centre plans to capture and capitalise on the extensive basic biomedical and health-related research capacity across many departments and research institutes in Cambridge. They will make this fully available for research capacity building and knowledge exchange partnerships with African universities and institutes, as a means of improving the health and welfare of those in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

Support for the Centre does not include research money but gives some core funds to allow them to mentor and guide African researchers interested in building an academic career in these fields to compete for high-quality fellowships applications to such schemes as the Wellcome Trust programme.

Professor David Dunne, Director of the Cambridge Centre, said: “The strengthening of Africa’s indigenous scientific research base is crucial to the identification of its disease control and public health priorities, to the discovery and successful application of appropriate solutions, as well as to overall development.

“Our aim is to use Cambridge’s outstanding research capabilities and influence to support the development of African biomedical science and global health research through co-coordinated, cross-faculty research strengthening and scientific training activities, and collaborative research partnerships.”

Professor Sharon Peacock, Deputy Director of the Cambridge Centre and Chair of the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Initiative, said: “This award is indicative of the gains already made through THRiVE and other initiatives in Cambridge in creating effective exchange partnerships with African universities and institutes, and provides important strengthening to the infrastructure in Cambridge that will be required to support further development of this programme.”

The ‘Training Health Researchers into Vocational Excellence in East Africa’ (THRiVE) partnership is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and seven East African universities and institutions. Makerere University in Uganda is the lead university for the THRiVE Consortium, and Professor Nelson Sewankambo (Co-PI for the Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research) is the Director.

THRiVE aims to strengthen institutional research capacity in East Africa, and to support the next generation of East African researchers to become internationally competitive and self-sustaining scientific leaders, seeding a regional research community with the critical mass to address African health priorities. More information about THRiVE (and other capacity building programmes) in Cambridge is available at www.thrive.cam.ac.uk.

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