The award will support the construction of the Institute’s new building on the University’s Western site which is part of a £1bn campus development programme. Work on the new IHW building is expected to start in the spring of 2019.
The Wolfson Foundation distributed £15.3m awards in its latest funding round to outstanding projects in the fields of science, health, the arts and humanities, and secondary education across the UK.
Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The Wolfson Foundation supports international quality research, and so we are delighted to be funding such an outstanding population health research centre. There could be few better places in the world to create such a facility, and the research will play a pivotal role in understanding and combatting health inequality – and preventing chronic disease. It seems particularly appropriate to be supporting this initiative in Glasgow: the city which gave the Wolfson family refuge from persecution during the 1890s.”
Professor Jill Pell, Director of the IHW, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for this significant award. It demonstrates their support for our ambitions for our new building. IHW staff are currently scattered across 10 separate sites in Glasgow and our new building will allow us to create a cohesive identity. That will enhance our ability to do inter-disciplinary research, to network creatively, enhance our accommodation for postgraduate students and to engage more effectively with members of the public.”
She added: “A major focus of IHW is prevention of disease through the promotion of healthier lifestyles and the development of health-promoting environments and supportive health policies. Much of our work is concentrated on neglected groups such as socio-economically deprived communities, refugees, the elderly, and those with learning disabilities or mental health problems.
“IHW researchers have already had a significant impact in the shaping of the Scottish Government smoking ban and by improving male football supporters’ health through its FFIT (Football Fans in Training) initiative that supported men to make important lifestyle changes.
“We have a proven track record of collaborating with external partners, both academic and non-academic in spite of the physical constraints of our current dispersed, inflexible estate. The new IHW building will provide the type of space, not currently available to us, that will transform our ability to undertake such collaborations in terms of scale, efficiency and effectiveness.”
The University of Glasgow has received almost £13.9m in funding from the Wolfson Foundation over nearly 60 years: these awards have been for building/refurbishment works, student support and scientific programmes. A further £4.8m was given in 2010 as a joint award to the Wellcome-Wolfson Laboratory of Comparative and Veterinary Virology: Integrating Research on Human and Animal Viruses.