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Scotland: £60m for genomic medicine
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Scotland: £60m for genomic medicine

29.08.2012 - A pioneering genetics research centre at the University of Edinburgh receives £60m (€75,6m) funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The university has also received a £3.5m (€4,4m) award from the Wellcome Trust and Wolfson Foundation to help fund the building of a new systems medicine centre. The MRC funding will be used to fund research at Edinburgh's MRC Human Genetics Unit and the MRC Institute of Genetics and Medicine (IGMM) into a range of conditions, such as schizophrenia, cystic fibrosis, and genetic eye disorders, and to develop and test new therapies. IGMM is a partnership between the MRC, the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Molecular Medicine, and Cancer Research UK.

“This funding will help us to turn the potential of the genetic revolution into reality” said Institute director Nick Hastie in a video. He explained that most of the money would continue to fund ongoing programmes in the Human Genetics Unit, but that “ten to twenty percent, combined with money from the University of Edinburgh, will allow us to do exciting new science”. This would include recruiting top researchers, purchasing new equipment, developing a brand new PhD programme and helping the centre to integrate its research with the NHS. Professor Hastie said that the ‘big aim’ was to bring the results of research into clinical practice to aid the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The £3.5m in funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, awarded under the Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Awards programme, will support a new systems medicine building with the construction set to start in 2013 at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital. The five-story systems medicine building will total 2,700 meters squared, and will "create a physical and intellectual bridge between centres that make up the IGMM. In addition to research spaces, the facility will include spaces for computational biology, a seminar room, offices, and an "open design" to encourage research collaborations, according to IGMM. The remainder of the estimated £10.2m for the systems medicine facility will be provided by the University of Edinburgh and the MRC.

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