A NORTH East university has been given a £1m donation for medical research into ageing, human genetics and neurodegenerative disease.
The Barbour Foundation has awarded the money to Newcastle University, and it will be used to establish 19 research posts across the Faculty of Medical Sciences over the next five years.
Prof Chris Day, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, said that it was one of the biggest single donations given to the medical school and would help encourage specialists to settle in the region.
He added: “This donation makes a huge difference in our ability to carry out research in disease areas where Newcastle has been strong for many years.
“We will be able to support young career scientists in some of the cutting-edge areas of research which can really make a difference to the healthcare we can provide in the future.
“This is wonderful news and really celebrates the import and life-changing work that our research teams are involved in.
“It is allowing us to train young doctors and build the stars of the future. It is really exciting to get this amount of money.”
Prof Day said The Barbour Foundation had understood the university’s vision to further medical research by creating opportunities for bright scientists to develop their ideas in the area.
The projects that the university will take forward thanks to the funding will ultimately help scientists move closer to breakthroughs that will benefit patients here in the North East and further afield.
Prof Day added: “We must continue to provide opportunities for younger researchers to explore new treatments for diseases such as dementia, cancer and stroke.”
A total of £8m has been given to charitable causes since the Barbour Foundation was set up.
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Sales rose 35% last year to £121.6m, almost double their size five years ago, with profits at the company up to £17.25m from £11.9m in 2010.
Chairman of The Barbour Foundation, Dame Margaret Barbour, said: “The Barbour Foundation was set up to help support organisations and charities in the North East, and I am delighted to make this donation to Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences.
“One of the greatest challenges we all face is living healthy, longer lives, and I have been impressed with the inspiring work carried out in the Faculty of Medical Sciences to help us all achieve that.
“Our donation will enable the next generation of researchers to take their work forward and to improve healthcare not only here in the North East but across the world.”