06 May 2016

Major grant awarded to create world-leading £2.4-million research centre at University of Hull

The University of Hull has been awarded a £500,000 grant to help create a world-leading centre for research into palliative care. The grant was awarded by the Wolfson Foundation (a charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts) following a rigorous and independent expert review.  

The £2.4-million Wolfson Centre for Palliative Care Research will form part of the University of Hull’s £28-million Health Campus, currently under construction, which will build on the University’s expertise in health. Research at the Wolfson Centre aims to improve the quality of people’s lives and reduce the inequality in palliative care. Through the Wolfson Centre, the University will establish itself as a world leader in this field, allowing an increase in volume and range of high-quality research.  

The Hull York Medical School research team at Hull has been at the forefront of internationally recognised work on palliative care research since the appointment of Professor Miriam Johnson in 2006. The research programme has more than 30 staff currently working on research in community settings, where patients in need of palliative care spend the majority of their time. 

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “Improving end of life care is one of the most important challenges facing healthcare.

“We were very impressed by the excellence of research at the University of Hull, which is well positioned to make significant advancements in the support of people who are dying, and their families.  

“We hope the research will have a lasting impact, both on the region and beyond. We are delighted to be supporting the new Centre, which sits alongside our funding for the training of palliative care staff and the refurbishment of hospices throughout the UK, including Hull’s Dove House.”

Mr Ramsbottom visited the University this week along with Charles Wolfson Townsley, a member of the Wolfson family, who also sits on one of the Foundation’s expert panels.  

The two were able to see how work on the Health Campus is progressing, as well as meet with Vice-Chancellor Professor Calie Pistorius, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Dr David Richards, and Dr John Mc Loughlin, Director of Development, Alumni and External Affairs. During the visit, a meeting was also held with Dean of the Hull York Medical School Professor Trevor Sheldon, and Professor of Palliative Medicine Miriam Johnson, among others. The vision of the Wolfson Centre for Palliative Care Research, which will be based in the Allam Medical Building, is to become a global leader in research which is relevant to the needs of people living with and dying from serious illness, their families and also communities.  

Professor Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “This is a project of immense importance to the University. The University takes very seriously its duty to be an anchor institution serving and strengthening the region’s economy, health and well-being.   

“Critical to achieving this is delivering cutting-edge research of international excellence. We have a team which is at the forefront of applied research into palliative care. This support from the Wolfson Foundation is allowing us to effect a step change in the volume, range and impact of research in palliative care, and to further develop our international standing in this field.”  

The Wolfson Foundation has funded palliative care since the early days of the modern hospice movement in the 1960s. The Foundation's grants have helped to fund the capital infrastructure underpinning the expansion of the movement, as well as research and teaching, encouraging high quality palliative care both generally and within hospices. Over the past five years alone, more than £5 million has been allocated to over 70 projects.    

About The Wolfson Foundation: The Wolfson Foundation (www.wolfson.org.uk) is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts. Since 1955 it has awarded over £800 million (£1.7 billion in real terms) to some 10,000 projects across the UK, all on the basis of expert peer review. Connect via Twitter: @WolfsonFdn, Facebook: facebook.com/wolfsonfoundation