Multi-million-pound health research centre opens its doors in Bradford

A NEW multi-million pound Bradford research centre that aims to improve health across the generations launched today.

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, was led by some of the Trust’s oldest and youngest patients currently taking part in research studies.

The centre is the focus of 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, alongside £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.

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, added: “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.”

Additonal information

The first researchers have now 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.”


Photo: Wolfson Centre exterior shot