Work underway on £14 million health and medical research facility
Professor David Coslett, Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University (right) with Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (centre) and Brian Rice, Operations Director for Devon and Cornwall at Kier (left)

Work has begun on an innovative £14 million facility which will house life-changing health and medical research.

The Derriford Research Facility at Plymouth University will be home to biomedical research currently based on the University’s main campus in the city centre. Research projects range from the diagnosis of Down’s syndrome to antibiotic resistance, the use of viral vectors as a way to disseminate vaccines for Ebola and bovine TB, the role of ancient DNA in modern health, genetic influences on post-natal depression, and others.

It is being built adjacent to existing laboratories at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at Plymouth Science Park. Its close proximity to these laboratories, where scientists investigate a number of conditions including brain tumours, neurological disorders such as Azheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, cancer, stroke and hepatitis, will mean closer collaboration between lab-based medical researchers at the University.

Its position will also enable greater interplay between University researchers and research clinicians at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

The first turf was cut by Professor David Coslett, Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University. He said: 

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new development both for Plymouth University and for our City and region. Plymouth is a university where teaching and research are mutually dependent and our mission to advance knowledge and transform lives through education and research recognises this explicitly. This new facility will support the conditions needed to continue to grow our world-leading research, creating a research environment and culture of the highest quality. Our students will be inspired, placed firmly alongside world-leading researchers in their field and learning in a world-class facility.”

Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, added: 

“By bringing together our scientists in the same research-rich environment, and by placing that environment close to our research clinician colleagues at Derriford Hospital, we will be able to build on a multitude of strengths which will contribute further to our reputation as world-leading in a wide range of research arenas. We believe that this level of collaboration will see yet more advances in medical therapies and clinical practice emerge from Plymouth.”

Health and medical research at Plymouth is supported by a variety of funding sources, from the National Institute for Health Research to the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and other major institutional funders. Support also comes from major UK health charities – Plymouth is one of four Research Centres of Excellence adopted by charity Brain Tumour Research and it is a lead research institution in the Alzheimer’s Research UK South West Network.

The University is also working with local and regional charities, including Peninsula Medical Foundation, which is fundraising for medical equipment for the new building.

Christian Burden, Director of Development at Plymouth University, said: 

“It is fantastic to have the support of Peninsula Medical Foundation, and we are keen to engage other charities, groups and individuals who recognise the value of the potentially life-changing medical and health research happening on their own doorstep.”

To find out more about supporting medical and health research at Plymouth University, please visit our Campaign Pages.