Glasgow University leads £77million boost for life sciences research in Scotland

Issued: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 00:00:00 GMT

The University of Glasgow is to play a key role in a bid to transform biology and life sciences research in Scotland.

Along with five other universities and the Scottish Funding Council, £77million is to be ploughed into research themes that will have both health and economic benefits.

Scotland is already a world leader in life sciences and key to maintaining and increasing that competitive edge is research excellence.

By establishing the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance, the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde are to pool their research expertise.

The Universities are putting in £50million and the Scottish Funding Council are contributing £27million to the Alliance.

Professor John Coggins, the University of Glasgow's vice principal for life sciences, medicine and veterinary medicine said: 'This research pooling will make a difference to people's lives.

'The life sciences work going on at Scotland's universities is some of the best in the world and this alliance will give us a huge added boost.

'As well as aiding medicine through new discoveries, the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance will be of vital interest to the economy as many of our advances have already been taken up by industry. More research will only improve that transfer rate.'

The initial areas SULSA will be strengthening through its collaboration will be:

ᄋ cell biology ヨ the study of the basic unit of life;

ᄋ systems biology ヨ using computers to model groups of molecules, groups of cells and even whole organisms; and

ᄋ translational biology ヨ the application of biological knowledge to develop medicines and other therapies for eventual clinical use.

Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Nicol Stephen said: "Scotland is a "science nation" and we have a history of attracting some of the world's very best researchers to our shores.

"Our research community will benefit very significantly from this new, world leading project, with new equipment, facilities, staff and studentships available.

"I am pleased to see the strong level of support coming from our universities and the Scottish Funding Council. Strong co-operation between our universities is vital to Scotland's international reputation for educational excellence."

Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland added: "This exciting initiative will further strengthen Scotland's expertise in life sciences and will help us attract the very best researchers to work here. There are real economic and scientific benefits to research pooling and SULSA will reinforce Scotland's academic reputation internationally as well as supporting new research opportunities."

Roger McClure, Chief Executive of SFC, said: "Life Sciences is one the jewels in Scotland's research crown. By pooling their resources the partners in SULSA will be better equipped to face the challenges of global research competition. They will also contribute to Scotland's health and economy through discoveries and through the critical mass of excellence they can offer to commercial companies in this dynamic sector of Scotland's economy.

"The outcomes of their work will be beneficial to many people in Scotland through the medical and economic benefits which will arise as a consequence of creating a large, integrated research community in life sciences".

The collaborative model of pooled research excellence offers a way to address the challenges of remaining internationally leading in an increasingly expensive field by attracting the best researchers to Scotland and by training the brightest students to follow them into the field.

This is the seventh research pool to date to have been awarded funding by the Council. The research pooling initiative was created to encourage research areas across Scottish higher education to pool their resources to benefit from a critical mass in key areas of research, and respond to increasing international competition.

Ray McHugh (r.mchugh@admin.gla.ac.uk)


For more information, or for filming opportunities, please contact Ray McHugh at the University of Glasgow Media Relations office on 0141 330 3535 or email r.mchugh@admin.gla.ac.uk