A NEW multi-million pound Bradford research centre that will be a beacon to improve health across generations opens its doors today.

The official opening of the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research, based at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), part of Bradford Teaching Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust, will be carried out by some of the Trust’s oldest and youngest patients, currently taking part in research studies.

The centre is a flagship partnership between the Trust and the universities of Bradford and Leeds, bringing together researchers from the two universities with clinicians from the Trust.

By combining the expertise of health researchers with doctors and nurses, the centre will ensure that its findings are put rapidly into practice. It has been built in the grounds of the BRI, and made possible thanks to a £1m award from the Wolfson Foundation, which gives grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science, medicine, the arts and humanities, education and health and disability, and £2m from the two universities.

The new building hosts the Centre for Ageing and the National Institute for Health Research’s National Patient Safety Centre. Its work around child health will include the ground-breaking ‘Born in Bradford’ and ‘Born in Bradford’s Better Start’ cohorts.

The three areas the new centre will address have been identified as key health priorities for Yorkshire - healthy childhood, healthy ageing and high quality and safe care.

Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute for Health Research at the Trust, said: “The opening of the new Wolfson Centre builds on our reputation as a City of Research, working closely with the people of Bradford to understand and tackle the big health challenges of the 21st Century.

“The UK faces rising levels of obesity, diabetes and mental ill-health. These have complex causes that have no simple cures. We will work with our communities, Bradford Council and some of the leading academics to show how health research can change a city.”

Professor Gail Mountain, Professor of Applied Dementia Research and Head of Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, added: “The Wolfson Centre is a great opportunity for us to engage in a forward-thinking research agenda with clinical and research colleagues. It will provide exciting new pathways for our early career researchers and facilitate new partnerships, locally, nationally and internationally. We are delighted to see this fantastic resource come to fruition.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said the charity was impressed with "high quality of the research that will take place in Bradford".

“The new Centre is an excellent example of how universities and an NHS Trust can work together to encourage research which will have a direct benefit to patients – in Bradford, across Yorkshire and beyond," he said.

"We are particularly pleased to be funding in Bradford and are confident that this Centre will make the city a beacon for outstanding, applied health research.”

Mark Mon Williams, Leeds University's Academic Lead for the Wolfson Centre, added: "It is a great privilege to be part of an exciting project that will create new and exciting opportunities for our researchers to contribute towards improving the physical and mental health of our communities."