Derriford Research Facility

Plymouth University is building a prestigious £14.8 million research facility to provide a research-intensive environment fit for world-leading scientists to investigate a range of devastating diseases.

This state-of-the-art facility will have a transformative effect on the medical landscape within the region while enhancing the impact of the University’s research, both locally and internationally. It will enhance synergies, derived from collaborative working between researchers and clinicians, to attract national and global research expertise.

Ultimately, this critical development will drive advances in a number of life-threatening conditions, many of which have no cure or effective treatment, including brain tumours, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Ebola, and Bovine Tuberculosis.

The facility will augment what is fast becoming a hub of world-class expertise for health and medicine, sitting alongside Derriford Hospital, medical companies, the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit and the NIHR Peninsula Clinical Research Network.

The future of medical research in the region gives us cause for optimism: we will find ways to improve the lives of the communities we serve and the people who are affected by serious diseases around the world.

Watch our video about the facility.

Thousands affected by devastating diseases

Every day, people are diagnosed with diseases that have no cure, such as brain tumours, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. The need for more research is underpinned by some harsh statistics. Currently, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with this figure set to rise to one million by 2025. While the figure is lower for Parkinson’s disease; around 127,000 people, another person is diagnosed every hour.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and the under-40 with brain cancer deaths rising; unlike other forms of cancers. In the South West, we have the highest rate of brain tumours per million people in England.

Plymouth University has a growing body of world-leading scientists undertaking cutting-edge research in health and medicine. However, their current dispersion across three sites impacts their collaborative efficiency and access to equipment.

Accelerating research towards a cure

This facility will house our expertise and world-leading research which brings us ever-closer to finding treatments, cures, and vaccines against some of the biggest health issues faced today.

Due for completion in July 2017, the facility is purposefully placed between our existing Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and Derriford Hospital. This close proximity will promote powerful collaborations between our research teams, clinicians, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to accelerate progress from 'bench to bedside and back'.

With extra teaching space and dedicated laboratories with high-end technology our research teams can grow and establish a hub of world-class expertise for health and medicine.

Watch our video about the Derriford Research Facility

Building on our strengths

Our research-intensive environment already houses leading talent from around the globe. Professor Oliver Hanemann leads in brain tumour research and we house one of only four Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence in the UK. 

We've made significant headway in the areas of Alzheimer’s, oral cancer, Ebola, and bovine tuberculosis, ranking us 1st in the UK for Research Output in Clinical Medicine.

We will attract some of the greatest minds in medicine to Plymouth; both students and researchers alike. Our collaborations and networks will be far reaching and draw the attention of prominent commercial partners. 

These relationships will fast-track the translation of research into clinical trials - from 'bench to bedside and back' for the benefit of patients, their families, and for a healthier society.

Key research theme: infection, immunity and inflammation


Within our research theme of infection, immunity and inflammation is the research into antibiotics. 

Antibiotic resistance is an increasing concern that affects everybody and is stated as being as big a threat to global health as climate change.

Antibiotic resistance: scientists and clinicians working together 


In this video, Dr Mathew Upton, Associate Professor (Reader) in Medical Microbiology, talks about his work with antibiotics.

A major area of Dr Upton’s research is in the discovery and development of a new class of antibiotics; antimicrobial peptides, for use in treating and preventing drug-resistant infections such a MRSA, potentially with one dose.