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Wellcome Centre

Professor Mark Jackson (Centre Director), Jeremy Farrar OBE (Director of the Wellcome Trust), Rachel Purtell (Critical Friend to the Centre) and Dr Louise Wood (Director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health)

Pioneering new centre that tackles world’s most pressing health problems officially opens

A world-leading new research centre, designed to address some of the most challenging public health issues across the globe, has officially opened.

The £4 million Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, based at the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, was launched at a special event on Friday, February 2.

The Centre, which will create around 20 new academic posts in the city over the next three years, will lead pioneering research into how to help older people stay healthy, prevent obesity and mental illness in children and the impact of social isolation on health.

The public will be able to play a key role in much of this work through taking part in research projects.

Historians, literary scholars, social scientists and medical experts were all present for the official launch, which was carried out by the Chief Executive of the Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar OBE. Among the invited guest for the event were Louise Wood, from the National Institute for Health and Rachel Purtell, a Public Engagement Consultant.

Speaking after the event Professor Mark Jackson, the Centre’s Director, said: “We have relied on science and medicine to show us how to tackle the urgent health and environmental challenges faced by people around the world – obesity, mental illness, health inequalities and antimicrobial resistance. But, although crucial, science and medicine can’t alone solve all of these problems.

“We need to take a new approach. Using expertise from the humanities and social sciences alongside science and medicine, can give new insights. We hope the public will be key collaborators on much of our research, and that our work will help people to live healthier lives.”

The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health will also see experts working to come up with solutions to help tackle antimicrobial resistance, help older people stay healthy and are working with librarians in Devon to see how using libraries can help promote people’s health and wellbeing. They will collaborate on research with Age UK, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Exeter City FC, as well as members of the public.

Research carried out in the centre will improve health and well-being through changes to medical and social care practice, and lead to a greater understanding of how health is influenced by the social and cultural environments that we live in.

Date: 2 February 2018

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