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Multimillion pound funding boost for cancer research

01 Nov 2012

Cancer research in Manchester has been given a £12.8 million funding boost following a successful bid by The University of Manchester to the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).

An artist's impression of the new cancer research building

The funds – announced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills today (Thursday) – have been awarded to the University to part fund the construction of a new University cancer research building on The Christie site in Withington, and pay for vital equipment to progress cancer research development in Manchester.

The new building will be home to researchers who form part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) – a partnership between The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK – and has been designed to facilitate collaboration between scientists and clinicians to translate discoveries made in the laboratory into new personalised treatments for cancer patients. The funding will also provide a range of specialist research equipment that will be central to future partnerships with industry and research charities for the benefit of cancer patients.

Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at The University of Manchester, Professor Ian Jacobs, said: “The funding from HEFCE is a result of the successful University bid in collaboration with our MCRC partners and is recognition of the excellent quality of cancer research in Manchester.

“The new cancer research building will facilitate plans for expansion of our cancer research effort and provide an exciting opportunity in Manchester to accelerate our personalised medicine plans in cancer.”

The UKRPIF scheme supports investment in research facilities of Higher Education Institutions by encouraging strategic collaborations with businesses and charities active in research.

University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “Cancer research is one of our high priorities, so this award is fantastic news for the University and for our partners, The Christie and Cancer Research UK.”

Professor Nic Jones, MCRC Director and Chief Scientist at Cancer Research UK, said: "The MCRC is a wonderful example of partners working together to combat cancer. Cancer Research UK welcomes the news of this award, which will facilitate further progress of the MCRC's efforts over the coming few years.”

Chief Executive at The Christie, Caroline Shaw, added: “The MCRC is a major step forward that will maximise our potential to benefit not just cancer patients on our doorstep but across the world. We are extremely grateful for this funding which will help facilitate groundbreaking research right here in Manchester.”

The University’s successful bid to UKRPIF was made possible due to external funding from business, charities and philanthropists, including AstraZeneca, The Wolfson Foundation and The Oglesby Charitable Trust.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive at the Wolfson Foundation, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnerships with government and other funders in supporting Manchester.  The research infrastructure underpins excellent research in one of the key areas of challenge of healthcare in the UK: the fight against cancer. It requires – and deserves – a wide range of generous funding; we are glad to be involved in this partnership."

Professor Richard Marais, Director of the Cancer Research UK-funded Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, added: “The new equipment will help the MCRC to drive forward the basic and translational research that is pivotal to the development of personalised cancer treatments in order to improve patient care.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science: "It is fantastic that our top businesses and top charities are queuing up to collaborate with our world-class universities. They want to work together to deliver innovation, commercialisation and growth, which will help make sure the UK competes and thrives in the global race.

"This excellent project between The University of Manchester and The Christie and Cancer Research UK will tackle the key issues we face."