UCT amongst 8 global institutions awarded Wellcome Discovery Research Platforms tackling pressing health challenges

The Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has been selected to host one of eight new Wellcome-funded Discovery Research Platforms. The Discovery Research Platform for Infection will address gaps in our knowledge that hinder understanding of the interaction between infection and non-communicable diseases, and strengthen capacity for locally-led, high-quality research studies to reduce infection, particularly HIV-1 and tuberculosis. The platform will receive £9 million in funding from Wellcome over seven years.

The other seven platforms will tackle a range of practical, technological, and methodological barriers holding up progress in fields such as cell-matrix biology, medical humanities, neuroimaging, and tissue scale biology. Michael Dunn, Director of Discovery Research at Wellcome, said that the platforms have the potential to revolutionise fields and provide maximum benefit for researchers around the world.

Discovery Research Platforms will bring together researchers, teams, and networks of collaborators to develop new tools, knowledge, and capabilities, with the aim of accelerating progress for the benefit of the wider global research community.

“Wellcome’s commitment to funding fundamental science that shapes the world around us is longstanding," Dunn said. "Discovery Research Platforms are a brand-new approach for Wellcome. By providing substantial support focused on specific research challenges, these environments have the potential to revolutionize fields and provide maximum possible benefit for researchers around the world."

The other Discovery Research Platforms funded include the Discovery Research Platform for Cell-Matrix Biology at the University of Manchester, the Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities at Durham University, and the Discovery Research Platform for Integrating Metabolic and Endocrine Science at the University of Cambridge.

Wellcome plans to convene all eight Discovery Research Platforms over the next year to encourage collaboration and the exchange of best practice between researchers and teams working in these environments.

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Article by RB correspondent