£13.6 million to establish new Wellcome Research Centre

Paul Wyatt

The University of Dundee has been awarded £13.6 million by Wellcome to establish a new research centre to tackle some of the world’s most devastating diseases.

The Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (CAIR) builds on world-leading work at the University’s School of Life Sciences to find new drugs to treat neglected tropical diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis.

These are diseases which affect millions of people and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. They disproportionately affect the poor and cost developing economies billions of dollars.

“This is a major boost from Wellcome for our research at Dundee, and will allow us to grow our capacity in drug discovery and development for neglected diseases,” said Professor Paul Wyatt, Director of CAIR.

“It will also mean we can expand our international collaborations, catalyse new projects and provide resources to carry out drug discovery training for scientists from countries where these diseases are endemic.

“There is an urgent need to find new treatments for these diseases, where there is increasing resistance to old drugs. We are at the forefront of this global effort to find new therapeutics and this award from Wellcome will further strengthen our efforts.”

Last year researchers in the Drug Discovery Unit at Dundee announced the discovery of a new antimalarial compound with the potential to treat malaria patients in a single dose. It is now in clinical development.

The Wellcome award is part of a £118 million investment in major research centres over the next five years. The Wellcome Centres all aim to advance our understanding of health and disease, and span fundamental and social sciences, clinical research and engineering.

At Wellcome Centres groups of world-class researchers with a joint vision come together to share facilities, collaborate, and benefit from the dynamic research, cultural and training environment.  This special environment allows them to deliver world-leading research and high-impact translation. 

Dundee’s is the only new Centre created in Scotland. The Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow had its funding renewed in 2014, and the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh is among those renewed in this latest funding round.Wellcome’s Director Dr Jeremy Farrar said, “Wellcome Centres play a special role in the global research ecosystem. By creating places where researchers can flourish we can catalyse world-leading research and translation, and amplify its influence and impact.

“At Wellcome we believe in long term support for discovery-driven science, and Wellcome Centres are an outstanding environment for researchers to further our understanding of fundamental biology, accelerate translation to clinical practice, and explore the social and cultural context of medicine."

The Wellcome Centres being supported for the next five years are:

  • Wellcome / MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
    University of Cambridge
    Director: Anthony Green
  • Wellcome / CRUK Gurdon Institute
    University of Cambridge
    Director: Daniel St Johnston
  • Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa)*
    University of Cape Town
    Director: Robert Wilkinson
  • Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research*
    University of Dundee
    Director: Paul Wyatt
  • Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology
    University of Edinburgh
    Director: David Tollervey
  • Wellcome Centre of Cultures and Environments of Health*
    University of Exeter
    Director: Mark Jackson
  • Wellcome / EPSRC / King’s College London Medical Engineering Centre of Research Excellence*
    King’s College London
    Director: Reza Razavi
  • Wellcome Centre for Cell-Matrix Research
    University of Manchester
    Director: Karl Kadler
  • Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research
    Newcastle University
    Director: Doug Turnbull
  • Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics
    University of Oxford
    Director: Peter Donnelly
  • Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging*
    University of Oxford
    Director: Heidi Johansen-Berg
  • Wellcome Centre for Ethics, Innovation, Globalisation and Medicine*
    University of Oxford
    Director: Michael Parker
  • Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging
    University College London
    Director: Catherine Price
  • Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Surgical and Interventional Sciences*
    University College London
    Director: Sebastien Ourselin

*Newly established centres

For more information about the centres visit www.wellcome.ac.uk/centres

About Wellcome

Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate.

The University of Dundee is one of the world’s top 200 universities and in 2016 was named Scottish University of the Year for the second consecutive year (Sunday Times Good University Guide). Dundee is internationally recognised for the quality of its teaching and research and has a core mission to transform lives across society.

Both Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings have ranked Dundee best in the UK and one of the top 20 worldwide among universities under 50 years old. Our students also rate us very highly on student satisfaction – we are one of the UK’s top ten in the National Student Survey 2016, and first for personal development of students.

Dundee is the top ranked University in the UK for biological sciences, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the major assessment of research quality.

See www.dundee.ac.uk for further details.


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University of Dundee
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Email: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk