The University of Nottingham will spearhead UK research into tobacco control at a new £5m Centre of Excellence, it was revealed today (Jan 23).
The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies will bring together seven leading research groups in a unique partnership, establishing one of the world’s largest research groups dedicated to the prevention of harm from smoking.
Led by Professor John Britton and Professor Ann McNeill at The University of Nottingham, the Centre will be a major international driver of new research, policy and practice to reduce the prevalence of smoking and the harm it causes through prevention of uptake of smoking, promotion of smoking cessation, and development of more effective harm reduction strategies for those currently unable to stop smoking.
Research work will investigate the effects of exposure before birth, smoking uptake and addiction in adolescence, methods of stopping smoking, and approaches to reduce the harm caused by addiction to tobacco. The Centre will also have a major commitment to training and development in this essential area of work.
Centre experts will also work with leading policy-makers and health professionals at national, European and international levels to increase awareness of the importance of tobacco control to reduce smoking–related death and disease, and advocate effective tobacco control policy implementation.
Professor Britton said: “Smoking still kills more people in the UK than any other avoidable cause. Preventing smoking should be the highest priority for public health in this country, but research in this area has been sadly neglected.
“This award is a massive boost to all of the groups involved in the Centre, and we look forward to starting work.”
The Centre is one of five new Centres of Excellence announced on January 23 set up to combat the biggest public health issues facing the UK today, such as smoking, diet and physical activity, health inequalities and drug/alcohol abuse.
Each centre will receive up to £5m over the next five years to bring together leading experts from a range of disciplines working in partnership with practitioners, policy makers and others to tackle public health issues which are likely to have a significant impact on the health of the nation. The funding will create new academic posts and develop strong training and career development programmes. Funding will also provide the technical staff, IT systems, equipment, administrative support, research facilities and other infrastructure needed to support high quality research.
The other four successful Centres, which were awarded funding via a competitive process, are based in Newcastle, Cardiff, Belfast and Cambridge.
The partners who provided the £20m investment for the initiative came together under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) to develop a coordinated approach to strengthen public health research in the UK, and tackle complex issues which have the potential to improve the health of the UK population.
The partners are the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Health and Social Care Research & Development Office for Northern Ireland, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Wales Office of Research and Development — Welsh Assembly Government, and the Wellcome Trust.
Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the ESRC, who leads the funding group, said: "I am delighted to announce these important new Centres, which will be vital for bringing together world-class experts from a diverse range of backgrounds to ensure that essential research is carried out to make a significant impact on the public health of the UK population.
“There have been big improvements in health and life expectancy over the last century. For example, the reduction in the number of adults who smoke can be attributed to research done in the 1950s which established the link between smoking and lung cancer, as well as research which led to the inclusion of health warnings on cigarette packets.
“However the UK still faces challenges to improve public health and ensure that as a society we benefit from longer and healthier lives. These Centres underline the commitment from all of the funders to investment in high quality research with the aim of improving the health of the nation.”
Further details about the Centres of Excellence can be found on the ESRC website at: www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/publichealthcentresofexcellence
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), established in 2004, is a partnership of organisations working together to establish the UK as a world leader in clinical research by harnessing the research potential of the National Health Service. The Partners include the key stakeholders that shape the health research environment, including research funders, the NHS, government, industry, academia, regulators, charities and patients.
More information is available from Professor John Britton, Nottingham University Medical School, on +44 (0)115 823 1708, firstname.lastname@example.org; Media Relations Manager Tim Utton in the University’s Communications Office on +44 (0)115 846 8092, email@example.com; or Jennifer Quinn, Clew Communications, on +44 (0)20 7580 7550, firstname.lastname@example.org