A new multi-million pound Bradford research centre that will be a beacon to improve health across the generations from children to the elderly has opened today (Thursday, 10 October).

The official opening of the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will be carried out by some of the Trust’s oldest and youngest patients currently taking part in research studies.

The centre is a flagship partnership between Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the universities of Bradford and Leeds, and brings together researchers from the two universities with clinicians from the Trust.

By combining the expertise of health researchers with doctors and nurses, the centre will ensure its findings are put rapidly into practice – resulting in better health and social care for those who need it most.

It has been built in the grounds of Bradford Royal Infirmary, and made possible thanks to a £1 million award from the Wolfson Foundation, which gives grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, medicine, the arts and humanities, education, and health and disability, and £2m from the universities of Bradford and Leeds.

The new building hosts the Centre for Ageing, one of the UK’s most successful research groups in applied health research for older people, and the National Institute for Health Research’s National Patient Safety Centre. Its work around child health will include the ground-breaking Born in Bradford project and Born in Bradford’s Better Start cohort.

The three areas the new centre will address have been identified as key health priorities for Yorkshire: healthy childhood, healthy ageing and high quality and safe care.

A number of drop-in sessions and workshops will be running throughout the day of the opening as well as research displays and information stands.

City of research

Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research at the Foundation Trust, said: “The opening of the new Wolfson Centre builds on our reputation as a city of research, working closely with the people of Bradford to understand and tackle the big health challenges of the 21st century.

“The UK faces rising levels of obesity, diabetes and mental ill-health. These have complex causes that have no simple cures. We will work with our communities, Bradford Council and some of the leading academics to show how health research can change a city.”

Mark Mon Williams, Leeds University’s Academic Lead for the Wolfson Centre, said:  “It is a great privilege to be part of an exciting project that will create new and exciting opportunities for our researchers to contribute towards improving the physical and mental health of our communities.

“The ultimate goal of the Wolfson is to bring together researchers from across the region, encompassing a wide range of disciplines, in order to improve health outcomes for everyone.”

Professor Gail Mountain, Professor of Applied Dementia Research and Head of Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, said: “The Wolfson Centre is a great opportunity for us to engage in a forward-thinking research agenda with clinical and research colleagues.

“It will provide exciting new pathways for our early career researchers and facilitate new partnerships, locally, nationally and internationally. We are delighted to see this fantastic resource come to fruition.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The Wolfson Foundation is a national charity, awarding funding based on rigorous and independent review. We were very impressed by the high quality of the research that will take place in Bradford.

“The new centre is an excellent example of how universities and an NHS trust can work together to encourage research which will have a direct benefit to patients – in Bradford, across Yorkshire and beyond. We are particularly pleased to be funding in Bradford and are confident that this centre will make the city a beacon for outstanding, applied health research.”


The first researchers have moved into the new centre.

Professor Marcus Rattray, Wolfson CAHR Operational Lead, University of Bradford, said: “University of Bradford researchers are delighted to be partners in the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Leeds University.

“By working together in a cross-disciplinary way and pooling our talents we will be able to make an important contribution to improving health and wellbeing in the region and providing evidence to support improvements in health services nationally and internationally.”


Photos: Wolfson Centre exterior shot

For further media information, please contact any of the press offices from the organisations involved in this project:

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Virginia Mason, 01274 382265 or communications@bthft.nhs.uk

University of Leeds

Simon Moore on 0113 343 4031 or s.i.moore@leeds.ac.uk/news

or pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

University of Bradford

Mark Thompson on 01274 236510 or M.Thompson6@bradford.ac.uk


Note to Editors:

The Wolfson Centre for applied Health Research is a collaborative partnership between the University of Leeds, University of Bradford and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Bringing together researchers from all three institutions, it will host a centre for child health, including the ground-breaking ‘Born in Bradford’ and ‘Born in Bradford’s Better Start’ cohorts. It will also host the Centre for Ageing, one of the UK’s most successful research groups in applied health research for older people, and the National Institute for Health Research’s National Patient Safety Centre.

The Wolfson Centre’s three areas it will address have been identified as key health priorities for the county:

  • Healthy Childhood: a child’s health is the foundation for their lifelong mental and physical well-being, yet a recent UNICEF report showed the UK is lagging behind our European neighbours on this important measure. The centre will examine how to reduce inequalities in the health and development of young people, and seek out the early-years interventions which are most effective.
  • Healthy Ageing: as our life expectancy has increased, so has the number of elderly people living with long-term medical conditions, limiting their quality of life and placing a growing burden on health and care services. The Wolfson Centre will develop new models of care for frail elderly patients, those with dementia and those facing debilitating musculoskeletal conditions. It will also work to improve systems of care for the terminally ill.
  • High Quality and Safe Care: health data shows huge variations in the standard of care received by patients in hospitals and clinics; a recent survey showed there are almost 12,000 preventable adult deaths a year in England alone. Research in the centre will develop new methods of care that are safe, patient-centred and harness the potential of new technologies.

The Wolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent grant-making charity that aims to promote the civic health of society by supporting excellence in the fields of education, the arts & humanities, health and science. Established in 1955, over £900 million (£1.9 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 11,000 projects across the UK, all on the basis of expert peer review.


Twitter: @wolfsonfdn