Where will my money go?
If you specify a certain illness or condition, say cancer or heart disease, our Trustees will ensure your gift is directed to a research project in that area. However, if you give without making any particular specification, our Trustees will ensure your gift is directed to the most appropriate area of research at the time.
How much does research cost?
Each project is carefully assessed and can range from £1,000 to complete a survey to £20,000 for an early career pump priming Innovation Grant. PhD studentships, where the individual student, as well as pursuing his or her own research studies, contributes to a more substantial research project being run by their supervisor, currently cost £80,000 spread over 4 years. There are many more complex long term research projects (such as the studies into cancer biomarkers, meningitis, osteoporosis and leukaemia) which require continuing funding over a number of years.
Doesn't it cost many millions to have any real impact?
Every new idea or investigation has to start somewhere, and one of the key aspects of Wessex Medical Research's work is that of 'pump priming': providing small grants from its Innovation Fund to enable exciting new projects to begin. An average grant of this type is around £20,000 and very often, our pump priming leads to the research groups attracting further external support—sometimes worth several millions of pounds. So your gift is multiplied. Each £1 you give could ultimately be worth £2, £5 or £10 or more to our research teams—that really is putting your valuable gift to work!
Where is the research carried out?
The majority of our research is carried out at or under the auspices of Southampton General Hospital, by specialists who are at the forefront of research worldwide. Some research is currently being carried out in co-operation with researchers at Salisbury District Hospital and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.
Who will benefit?
Our work will bring Wessex Medical Research to people you know and love: family, friends or neighbours. The results of our research will, of course, be shared with people everywhere. Ultimately, the benefits will be worldwide.
Who actually does the research?
At Wessex Medical Research we look to fund world class research teams here, in the United Kingdom, who are able to assist in the quest to tackle the underlying causes of ill health in our community. We promote collaboration between groups and develop partnerships.
How are the priorities decided?
We have established a Scientific Advisory Panel whose members are specialists in medical research. They assess the quality and relevance of each project; its ability to have an impact upon our health in the future and its potential to make a real difference. We also try to ensure that similar work is not already being funded by others. All applications recommended for grants then have to undergo a process known as peer review: this generally involves sending the application to an external expert who is asked to comment on the scientific merit and value for money of the proposed research. Once satisfactory peer review has been received, our Trustees will resolve whether or not to make the awards.
Wouldn't it be better to concentrate on just one area, such as cancer?
Our bodies are exceptionally complex and different medical conditions are often inter-related. We believe that by taking a generalist view, we can often be more successful than if we concentrated on a single disease area. For example: epidemiological research funded by Wessex Medical Research has shown a direct link between fetal nutrition and heart disease in later life. The same research has linked this with diabetes and stroke.
How will I know what progress is being made?
The recipients of our grants are required to report periodically on progress being made, and their findings are published. Supporters of Wessex Medical Research receive regular newsletters which include the latest news from the research teams.