Wellcome Trust

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Wellcome Trust
Wellcome Trust logo.svg
Founded 1936
Founder(s) Sir Henry Wellcome
Headquarters
  • London, United Kingdom
Key people Sir William Castell
(Chairman)
Prof Jeremy Farrar[1]
(Director)
Area served United Kingdom and overseas
Focus(es) Biomedical Research
Endowment £14.5 billion
Website www.wellcome.ac.uk

The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. It has an endowment of around £14.5 billion.[2] The aim of the Trust is to "achieve extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds", and in addition to funding biomedical research it supports the public understanding of science.

The Trust has been described by the Financial Times as the United Kingdom's largest provider of non-governmental funding for scientific research and one of the largest providers in the world.[3] In the field of medical research, it is the world's second largest private funder after Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[4]

History[edit]

The Trust was established to administer the fortune of the American-born pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome.[5] Its income was derived from what was originally called Burroughs Wellcome, later renamed in the UK as the Wellcome Foundation Ltd.[6] In 1986, the trust sold 25% of Wellcome plc stock to the public. Overseen by incoming Director of Finance Ian Macgregor, this marked the beginning of a period of financial growth that saw the Trust's value increase by almost £14bn in 14 years, as their interests moved beyond the bounds of the pharmaceutical industry.[7] In 1995, the trust divested itself of any interest in pharmaceuticals by selling all remaining stock to Glaxo plc, the company's historic British rival, creating GlaxoWellcome plc. In 2000, the Wellcome name disappeared from the drug business altogether when GlaxoWellcome merged with SmithKline Beecham, to form GlaxoSmithKline plc.

Activities[edit]

Support for Open Access[edit]

The Wellcome Trust plays an important role in encouraging publication of research in open access repositories[8] such as UK PubMed Central (UKPMC). The Wellcome Trust believes that maximising the distribution of these papers - by providing free, online access - is the most effective way of ensuring that the research can be accessed, read and built upon. In turn, this will foster a richer research culture.[citation needed]

Public engagement and the Wellcome Collection[edit]

In June 2007, the Wellcome Building reopened after refurbishment as a public venue, housing the Wellcome Collection, the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London and the Wellcome Library.[9] The aim of the Wellcome Collection is to enhance public understanding of medical science and history. The building contains gallery spaces, conference facilities, space for debates, drama and workshops, a café and a bookshop. The galleries show a small sample of works from Sir Henry Wellcome's collection, and host a programme of events and exhibitions. The Wellcome Collection and exhibitions are open to the public free of charge six days a week.[10]

The Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Library are members of The London Museums of Health & Medicine.

Seeding Drug Discovery Initiative[edit]

Also known as SDDI, this five year initiative started in October 2005 with the remit "to facilitate the development of drug-like small molecules that address unmet medical needs." SDDI was based in London and managed by Richard Davis.[11] Through early 2010, SDDI had provided more than GB£80 million across 30 projects split between academic institutions and companies.[11] To early 2010, all but one of the company recipients were either start-ups or spin-outs.[11] In May 2010, an additional GB£110 million was added to the SDDI fund with the intent to extend the initiative for an additional 5 years.[12]

Headquarters[edit]

The Wellcome Trust's Gibbs Building on Euston Road

The Wellcome Trust's operations are run from two buildings on Euston Road in London. The Wellcome Building, at 183 Euston Road, built in 1932 in Portland stone houses the Wellcome Collection and the adjoining glass and steel building at 215 Euston Road is the Gibbs Building, by Hopkins Architects, which opened in 2004 as the administrative headquarters of the Wellcome Trust.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Van Noorden, Richard (2013). "Clinician to head Wellcome Trust: Jeremy Farrar to lead one of world’s largest research charities.". Nature 497 (7447): 19. doi:10.1038/497019a.  edit
  2. ^ Wellcome Trust website
  3. ^ Andrew Jack (2012-04-10). "Wellcome challenges science  journals". Financial Times. Retrieved 2012-04-16.  (registration required)
  4. ^ Alok Jha (9 April 2012), "Wellcome Trust joins 'academic spring' to open up science", The Guardian 
  5. ^ History of Henry Wellcome
  6. ^ Hall, A. R. & Bembridge, B. A. Physic and philanthropy: a history of the Wellcome Trust 1936–1986. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-521-32639-7
  7. ^ briandeer.com Sunday Times investigation, February 1994]
  8. ^ Wellcome Trust position statement in support of open and unrestricted access to published research
  9. ^ The Wellcome Library
  10. ^ Wellcome Collection opening hours
  11. ^ a b c "A Wellcome experiment in seeding drug discovery". Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (PDF) 9 (3): 178–180. March 2010. doi:10.1038/nrd3130.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ "Wellcome Trust extends Seeding Drug Discovery initiative". TMRM. AngelNews. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 

External links[edit]