Funding boost for medical research units at University of Cambridge

Two scientists meeting in a lab, looking through a microscope and writing notes.

The MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU) and the Metabolic Diseases Unit (MDU) have been awarded funding that will support their research over the next five years.

Two medical research units based at University of Cambridge are to receive a total of £30 million from the Medical Research Council (MRC). This follows positive reviews of their achievements to-date and research plans for the next five years.

Scientists at both units are engaged in cutting-edge research to improve public health and the funding will support their work until March 2029.

Major centre for research

The BSU was founded in 1913 and is now one of the largest groups of biostatisticians in Europe, as well as a major centre for research, training and knowledge exchange.

Its mission is to further the development, application and communication of innovative statistical methods for the improvement of health.

It brings together researchers with deep expertise in statistical and computational methods and their biomedical applications.

The BSU has proved very effective at forging partnerships with leading health scientists at other institutions to identify problems and develop methodologies and tools to solve them, for example during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developing better treatment strategies

The MDU was established in 2013 as an integral part of the Institute of Metabolic Science (IMS).

Work at the MDU is focused on studying how metabolic health is maintained and what happens when this is disrupted, leading to ill health and disease.

This knowledge can then be used to develop better treatment strategies for patients with serious conditions, including obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and related endocrine and metabolic diseases.

Next generation of research staff

Both units provide highly effective training environments for the next generation of appropriately skilled research staff across a range of disciplines.

Jessica Boname, MRC Head of Population and Systems Medicine said:

Both the BSU and the MDU are world-leading centres of excellence that have developed unique strengths and strong international reputations for high-quality research.

Together these two units are turning academic research into action through their partnerships and directly helping improve the UK’s wellbeing by tackling some of the biggest health challenges we face.

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