£9m for public health research
Public health researchers have been given a £9 million cash injection to continue investigations into obesity, mental well-being and health inequality in Northern Ireland.
The funding, awarded to Queen's University's Centre of Excellence, will allow academics to look at what shapes the health of adolescents and to develop ways of helping the population age well. It also secures the future of the centre for a further five years.
Professor Frank Kee, director of the Centre of Excellence, said: "Issues such as obesity and an increasingly ageing population are just some of the factors that are set to impact hugely on society in years to come."
Prof Kee continued: "Thanks to the funding from all of our sponsors, the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (CRC) Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland can continue to build capacity in research that will help counter these problems and extend the evidence base that will inform policy and practice in public health."
It was launched in 2008 as part of a £20 million investment across the UK to strengthen research into complex public health issues.
Since then, Queen's researchers have influenced policy makers and helped them devise projects such as the Connswater Community Greenway in east Belfast.
"At Queen's we are committed to undertaking research which benefits the community. This funding is recognition of the vital work of the centre over the last five years.
"It will ensure Queen's can continue to work with its partners on an integrated approach to health and social services, help to tackle the inequalities in health in the community and to study the economic, social and biological factors which cause chronic diseases," said Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Health Minister Edwin Poots said the financial boost was a testament to the quality of research carried out at Queen's, adding: "Going forward, the aim is to build additional strength in tackling the public health issues affecting both the young and the older population."
The UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland will be officially relaunched at an event at Riddel Hall.