Wales to host Europe's first Centre for NanoHealth
9 February 2009
Swansea University in Wales will host Europe's first centre devoted
to nanomedicine, after securing more than £10 million from the
Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh
The £21.6 million Centre for NanoHealth, believed to be the first of
its kind in Europe, brings together the expertise of clinicians, life
scientists, engineers and industry to develop cutting-edge medical
technologies and devices.
The Centre for NanoHealth is a joint project between Swansea
University’s School of Engineering, School of Medicine, School of
Physical Sciences and ABM University NHS trust and has emerged from
imaginative collaborative research between the Multidisciplinary
Nanotechnology Centre (MNC) in the School of Engineering and the
Institute of Life Science (ILS) in the School of Medicine.
These technologies, for example, will enable researchers and
scientists to detect biomarkers such as proteins in real time, thereby
acting as an early-warning system of diseases such as cancer, diabetes
and heart disease.
Professor Steve Wilks, Co-Director of the Centre for NanoHealth and
Deputy Head of the School of Engineering explains: “In-vivo sensing is
one of the holy-grail technologies for the medical profession. By
harnessing nanotechnology, scientists and researchers can develop
sensors that operate at a level of sensitivity in the parts per billion
range. It is anticipated that these sensors will allow the detection of
certain disease biomarkers within the body at a very early stage and
transmit this data to a GP or clinician making early intervention
Announcing the funding in Swansea, Deputy First Minister for Wales,
Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is also the Minister for the Economy and Transport,
said: “Support for innovation and the growth of our knowledge-based
economy are essential if we are to help companies deal with the current
downturn and ensure Wales is in a strong position to take advantage of
the economic upturn.
"This investment is a major boost to our research and development
capabilities, and will undoubtedly help Welsh businesses become more
competitive, productive and efficient through the development of a new
generation of products and processes."
Swansea University Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies said
the announcement of the funding for the Centre for NanoHealth is a
cornerstone of the University’s strategy for continued growth.
He said: “Campus universities provide an ideal environment for
multi-disciplinary work to flourish. This is important because the big
challenges of today do not respect the artificial boundaries between
traditional disciplines. The new Centre for NanoHealth goes one stage
further: disciplinary boundaries disappear and the Centre creates an
innovative academic alignment with the size and quality of facilities to
make a major impact. World class research will deliver high-technology
solutions to major healthcare challenges in an explicitly
multi-disciplinary environment and culture.
“The Centre also builds successfully upon Swansea University’s strong
track record of working closely with private industry. It benefits from
the effective working relationships established between the new School
of Medicine and the NHS.”
The Centre for NanoHealth, which will be located on the University’s
Singleton campus, will include business incubation space, and
open-access nanotechnology and biomedical research and development
facilities. This will enable businesses to fully realise the potential
of nanotechnology innovation in healthcare from conception to
Dr Steve Conlan, Co-Director for the Centre for NanoHealth and a
Principal Investigator in the Reproductive Biology Group of the School
of Medicine said: “Nanotechnology is widely considered to be the next
big thing; with markets associated with nanotechnologies projected to
exceed $2.5 trillion within 15 years. We are at the leading edge of
Research and Development in this field.
“The Centre for NanoHealth will provide Swansea, Wales and the rest
of the UK with the required infrastructure to facilitate a level of
investment from the private sector to develop new technologies in the
area of NanoHealth. This will ultimately return wider economic, health
and environmental benefits to both the region and the wider economy.”
The Centre for NanoHealth is forecast to assist around 400 companies,
of which more than 300 will be small and medium businesses in Wales. The
Centre is also expected to create up to 450 new jobs over five years.
These will include 12 new jobs, of which eight will be academic
appointments, at Swansea University.
The total investment/funding secured to date by CNH is £21.6 million:
This includes £10 million funding from WEFO, £7.6 million from Swansea
University and £2.5 million from Industry.
Centre for NanoHealth, Swansea University
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