Of 326 applications received nationally, four of the 28 projects funded are based at the University - beating Oxford with three and Cambridge with two. Professor Matt Lambon-Ralph, Director of Clinical Neuroscience, said:
"As with the first round of this scheme last year, competition for these grants was extremely high. Our success in the second round is a continuation of our excellent achievements in the first phase of this competition.
"These awards recognize that the University of Manchester is in the very top echelons of neuroscience and mental health research in the country. Importantly, all of our projects fuse basic sciences with clinical application and will make a significant difference to our understanding and treatment of stroke, dementia and mental illness."
The call for research proposals followed two themes: 'Pathfinders', to develop novel and exciting research ideas for laboratory and population-based studies, and 'Trial Platforms' to build capacity for large scale clinical trials. The projects awarded funding at The University of Manchester are:
- Dr Shaheen Hamdy's study into the ability of the brain to adapt to and compensate for conditions such as stroke
- Dr Nusrat Hussain's study of pre- and post-natal depression and infant growth in Manchester residents of Pakistani origin
- Dr Karina Lovell's trial of guided self-help for mild to moderate depression in primary care
- Dr Jennifer Shaw's trial of management for released prisoners with severe and enduring mental illness
Seven projects were also funded last year during the first round of the competition, totalling £1.25M. These included research into the way Alzheimer's disease develops, the prevention of relapse in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and ways of improving depression with modular treatment.
Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the MRC said: "It is very encouraging to see the quality and originality of the research ideas coming forward to address the hugely complex problems of mental health and brain degeneration. These jointly funded awards will be especially important in building up research in mental health, which represents a huge burden on people, families, and the health service."
Professor Sally Davies, Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health said: "Mental health research is one of our key priorities. Our joint aim in this initiative is to improve support for trials of new treatments and other high quality research, to help find the most effective ways of caring for patients. These grants will help patients by speeding up the translation of research from laboratory to the clinic."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The University of Manchester (www.manchester.ac.uk) was formed by the merger of The Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST in October 2004, and with 36,000 students expected in the coming academic year is the largest higher education institution in the country. Its Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences (www.mhs.manchester.ac.uk) is one of the largest faculties of clinical and health sciences in Europe, with a research income of over £37 million.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a national organisation funded by UK taxes, which supports medical research aimed at improving human health. About half of the MRC's expenditure of £450 million is invested in its 40 Institutes, Units and Centres. The remaining half goes in the form of grant support and training awards to individuals and teams in universities and medical schools.
The Department of Health invests in research to support health services, public health and social care, with a budget of over £600 million per annum. A large proportion of this covers the NHS costs of supporting research funded by other bodies, such as the Research Councils and charities. Additionally, the DH funds clinical research directly through the NHS R&D Programmes, and research needed to inform policy through the Policy Research Programme, as well as providing funding to help improve capacity to undertake research within the NHS.