Wolfson Research Institute
The Wolfson Research Institute is a multi-disciplinary research institute at Durham University in England. The Institute facilitates research on medicine, health, and well-being and is named after the Wolfson Foundation, which provided funds for the Institute's establishment. The Institute is housed in a purpose-built building on Queen's Campus in Stockton-on-Tees.
The Institute's core staff comprises a director, deputy director, six associate directors, research statistician and a small administrative team. The team are responsible for supporting a fellowship program that comprises Durham academics whose research focuses on interdisciplinary research in medicine and health as well as the application of medical and health research on society. External Honorary Fellows are appointed on the basis of their seniority and collaboration with the Institute. The Institute's management board is composed of academic members of the University and chaired by the director.
The Institute has four stated themes that define its overall scope of activities. These are
- Building the research and development base of North East England
- Tackling health inequalities
- Setting agendas and establishing centres of excellence
History and facilities
The Institute was established in 2001. The Wolfson Foundation donated a substantial amount of funding for a building housing offices and wet laboratories.
The first director of the institute was Professor Charlie Heywood of the Department of Psychology. He was followed by Professor Ray Hudson of the Department of Geography and then Professor Tim Blackman of the School of Applied Social Sciences. The current Director is Professor Clare Bambra of the Department of Geography.
The Institute's building has over 20 laboratories and 60 offices to accommodate 150 research staff and 100 postgraduates. The building houses the School for Medicine and Health and the North East Public Health Observatory, as well the Centre for History of Medicine and Disease, the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (Department of Psychology), the Durham Endocrinology Laboratory (Department of Anthropology), the Durham University Clinical Trials Unit and researchers from the Geography department.
Fellows of the institute are nominated by their head of department and two other fellows. Upon successful application to the scheme, fellows can access several modes of support, including statistical support, peer review of grant applications, ethics advice, advice on funding opportunities and promoting of achievements. Fellows also have access to a small-grants fund designed to facilitate pilot work in multi-disciplinary research on health and well-being.
Fellows are drawn from 14 departments. In 2011, there were over 150 fellow, most from the School of Applied Social Sciences, School of Medicine and Health, Department of Geography, or Department of Psychology.
Research areas and outreach activities
Research within the umbrella of the Institute is originated by the Fellows, whose work is returned to their home departments. Individual research interests within the Fellowship are highly variable as a reflection of the overall diversity of academic work within the University. The Institute does not produce any research outputs directly but supports and promotes multi-disciplinary research in primary care, public health, epidemiology, child development, cognitive neuroscience, biology, medical anthropology, health geography, social work and medical humanities.
The Institute publishes its newsletter Engage three times a year. The newsletter contains news of Fellows' achievements and profiles of individual Fellows and Research Centres, laboratories or other organisational units that are associated with the Institute. Events organised and hosted by the Institute include public seminars and conferences. Fellows of the Institute are involved in outreach activities related to their research area.