Scottish unis to share £20m funding boost

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SIX Scottish universities will share in £20 million of Medical Research Council (MRC) funding to establish a UK health informatics research institute.

The funding is part of a £39m investment in the new Farr Institute, which will link research in 19 universities across the UK.

Scotland is represented in the Institute by the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde, as well as NHS Scotland.

Their combined expertise will be co-ordinated from Dundee to support the safe use of patient and research data for medical research across all diseases.

Professor Andrew Morris, dean of the school of medicine at Dundee, said: “Working closely with NHS colleagues and the public, we have a terrific opportunity to create a groundbreaking virtual research institute that will harness data for patient and public benefit, resulting in tangible improvements in healthcare.”

The Farr Institute builds on four “e-health informatics research centres” (eHIRCs) recently funded by a consortium of research councils, health departments and leading medical research charities.

Its research is expected to support innovation leading to advances in preventative medicine, improvements in NHS care and better development of commercial drugs and diagnostics.

Professor Jonathan Seckl, vice-principal in charge of research at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This will bring a major change in the way we understand common diseases, their causes, best treatments and how to organise the NHS better to deliver healthcare.”