Our commitment remains undiminished, even in the face of a pandemic. Over this past year, we have taken vital steps to protect our investment in existing research, supported our scientists to redirect their research towards Covid-19, and offered studentship extensions to protect tomorrow’s research leaders.
Through it all, the commitment and resilience of our research community has been a constant source of inspiration. And while it has been an incredibly challenging year, we have much to be confident in and to celebrate together.
Later this month, on July 28th, we will mark our 60th birthday. Over the last six decades, the BHF has been instrumental in countless life saving discoveries. Our research has contributed to the first UK heart transplant, the development of pacemakers, the use of clot busting drugs to treat heart attacks, and the rollout of genetic testing for inherited heart conditions. In the 1960s, when the BHF was founded, 7 out of 10 heart attacks in the UK were fatal. Now, thanks in part to research you have helped fund, at least 7 out of 10 survive.
You help us to be the biggest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in Scotland and in the UK, supporting the work of hundreds of scientists, including around 300 in Scotland, many in the early stages of their career and with the potential to become global research leaders of the future. Our presence in Scotland is strong, demonstrating the huge breadth of talent within the scientific community here. Two of our six BHF Centres of Research Excellence are based in Scotland – at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Since we were established, our research and campaigning have contributed to the annual number of people dying from heart and circulatory diseases in this country falling by half. This is something we can be extremely proud of. But with the public’s help, we want to do more. Despite progress, heart and circulatory diseases cause around 3 in ten deaths in Scotland.
The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the power of science and the impact it can have. Science that can save and improve lives. Science funded by you. Our researchers are ready to face the challenges ahead, to move us a step closer to the breakthroughs we want to see - a cure for heart failure, more people to survive a heart attack, better treatments for stroke and ways to prevent vascular dementia.
Your donations, time and tireless support have brought us a long since way since 1961. And we need you like never before. Our goals for the next 60 years are even more ambitious. With your help, we will continue to fund groundbreaking research, backing the best ideas, the brightest minds. A world of cures and treatments that we can’t even imagine today.
James Jopling Head of BHF Scotland