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The Wellcome Trust
We are a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.
This is an open access publication and, with the exception of images and illustrations, the content may, unless otherwise stated, be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium, subject to the following constraints: content must be reproduced accurately; content must not be used in a misleading context; the Wellcome Trust must be attributed as the original author and the title of the document specified in the attribution. The views and opinions expressed by writers within Wellcome News do not necessarily reflect those of the Wellcome Trust or Editor. No responsibility is assumed by the publisher for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the material herein. ISSN 1356-9112. First published by the Wellcome Trust, 2010. © The trustee of the Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England, no. 210183. Its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in England, no. 2711000, whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK.
PU-4737/13.5K/03-2010/AF Cover image: Dr Elizabeth Murchison, see pages 8–9.
This document was printed on material made from 25 per cent post-consumer waste & 25 per cent pre-consumer waste.
As part of the Plan, we set out five huge
In this issue of Wellcome News, I am delighted to introduce the Trust’s new Strategic Plan, for 2010 to 2020. Our vision is to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health through supporting the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our new Plan sets out how we aim to achieve this vision and how we will assess whether our funds are being applied successfully. Unlike our previous five-year Plans, our
new framework covers the next decade. It takes a long time to make scientific discoveries, so we want to empower researchers to ask difficult and challenging questions and give them the confidence that they will have the time and resources to find the answers.
New focus areas
What is also new is that we are making explicit the areas where we will focus our resources through our fellowships, Investigator Awards and Strategic Awards. We will continue to develop our international funding. We are also making clear our direction of travel to increase our support for work that will lead to the application of research, capitalising on the many exciting discoveries that are emerging from the scientific community. We believe that an understanding of the social, political and historical contexts of biomedical science and its application is essential for research to deliver its full potential to society and we will continue to strongly support activities in this area.
research challenges – on genetics and genomics, the brain, infectious disease, ageing and chronic disease, and the environment and nutrition. These are areas where we already fund many talented researchers and activities, but we are now setting out our vision for how our funding can have a significant impact over the next ten years and beyond. The challenges provide a framework and the context for how we want to work with the research community and with other funders; they are deliberately inclusive and broad, and although some research will be more aligned to the challenges than others, the primary criteria for our funding will remain the quality of the individuals, their teams and their research questions.
Environment and health
One of our challenges, on environment, nutrition and health, has not been an area that we have explicitly focused on before. Major changes in the environment are affecting high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries. There are strong environmental factors involved in the many health problems seen in countries that have gone through a demographic transition – such as obesity, late-onset diabetes and hypertension. We believe that research can have a major impact on public health, with effects on the health of millions, and this will be an important area of development for us in the coming years. Alongside our Strategic Plan, we are finalising our exciting new Investigator Awards – the full details of which will be available in June this year. Our philosophy for many years has been to fund people; our fellowship schemes have always been innovative and we are now extending the principles behind these to researchers who have established posts within universities and research institutes. We hope that this will broaden the reach of the ‘Wellcome family’, and will bring new ideas for how the Strategic Plan can evolve during the next decade.
Sir Mark Walport Director of the Wellcome Trust
Read more about the Strategic Plan on pages 4–5
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