Major funding to combat infectious diseases

01 April 2015

The Wolfson Foundation is to donate a further £3 million over the next two years towards the Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment scheme, to be focused in the first year on research into infectious diseases such as Ebola.

The major UK charity has now committed over £30 million to improve university laboratory facilities in the UK through its partnership with the Royal Society since the programme began in 1998. The scheme aims to improve the existing physical infrastructure in UK universities to promote high quality scientific research.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

“Infectious diseases are of course at the forefront of everyone’s mind owing to the ongoing Ebola epidemic. We hope that this funding will help to create outstanding facilities, allowing researchers to look at some of the fundamental challenges posed by a wide-range of infectious diseases. We are delighted to once again be working in partnership with the Royal Society for the benefit of UK science.”

Sir John Skehel, Biological Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society said:

“The Royal Society is very grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for extending its support of this important scheme. Access to high quality facilities and infrastructure is crucial for first class research.”

Funding for each round supports a particular subject area. The next round, focused on infectious diseases opens for applications today (1 April 2015). The scheme provides grants of up to £250,000 covering refurbishment and infrastructure costs, and can include start-up research equipment up to a maximum of £50,000. The proposed refurbishment can either be for a UK laboratory or an overseas laboratory of a UK university or research institution.

Past recipients of the programme include Professor Roland Smith at Imperial College London who used the funding to refurbish a laboratory for ultrafast imaging of extreme physical processes; Professor Polly Arnold at University of Edinburgh who refurbished a block which had been untouched for 40 years so that it could be used for research into converting CO2 into useful products; and Professor Mohan Edirisinghe at University College London who refurbished tissue engineering laboratories.

The Wolfson Foundation is a grant-making charity established in 1955. Funding is given to support excellence. The Wolfson Foundation is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015.