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Results

Lifestyle, health and disease: changing concepts of balancein modern medicine. 29 May 2015

In 2008, Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, suggested that: `A world that is out of balance in matters of health is neither stable nor secure.' By explaining global health in terms of balance, Dr Chan was mobilising traditional medical beliefs in the relationship between physiological, psychological and political stability and health, from ancient humoral medicine through to modern injunctions to maintain physical balance and fitness, achieve work-life balance, and protect the bala nce of nature in order to safeguard health and well-being. The aim of this research is to analyse ways in which changing notions of balance have shaped scientific and clinical models of healthy lifestyles and to understand the manner in which preoccupations with balance have structured our lives. The central premise is that balance has constituted not only an object for scientific and clinical enquiry, but also a rhetorical construct employed to articulate shifting anxieties about well-bei ng, environmental sustainability, and political security. Research will focus on three overlapping themes: 1. The development, application and reception of scientific theories of, and therapeutic strategies for attaining, bodily balance. 2. Scientific and clinical accounts and patient experiences of coping with mental illness and maintaining work-life balance. 3. Arguments about the relationship between ecological balance and the prevention of chronic diseases, including mental illness, obesity and heart disease. Academic publications, impact activities and the creation of a critical mass of inter-disciplinary researchers will generate a richer understanding of clinical approaches to, and experiences of, changing relationships between lifestyle, health and disease.

Amount: £100,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open access award 2015/16. 21 Sep 2015

Not available

Amount: £36,560
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Do Beards Matter? Facial Hair, Health, Medicine and Masculinity in Britain, c. 1700-2014. 12 Jan 2015

The project explores the history of facial hair through time, and across different social and geographical spaces, Exploring individual British regions, as well as questions of beardedness at different social levels, it questions assumptions of elite hegemony and emulation that currently underpin existing historiography. It will recover the complex health/medical, cultural, scientific and intellectual changes that have affected views and styles of facial hair, as well as the extent to which bear ds have symbolised changing concepts of masculinity. Over the past three centuries facial hair has been closely bound with health. This study will chart various aspects from humoural views of facial hair to the beard as a visible index of health, and also its broader place within the shifting medical contexts of hair. This will include studies of medical remedies as well as the changing relationship between barbers and beards, including the eighteenth-century decline of the barber-surgeon and th e changing health and medical functions barbers undertook. It also explores the relationship between shaving technologies and the management of facial hair. Everything from cast steel to electric and disposable razors have made shaving easier, but this study interrogates the extent to which technologies directly influenced mens facial hair choices.

Amount: £163,785
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Santorio Santorio and the Emergence of Quantifying Procedures in Medicine at the End of the Renaissance: Problems, Context, Ideas. 12 Jan 2015

While mechanics and astronomy have always been placed at the heart of the major narrative of the scientific revolution, historians are currently reconsidering disciplines or ways of thinking once regarded as peripheral, in particular medical disciplines such as anatomy and physiology. In this context, a study on the Italian physician Santorio Santorio (1561-1636) could be particularly noteworthy. Santorio is reputed to be the first to conceive and apply the quantification of the so called 'persp iratio insensibilis' in his major work 'Ars de statica medicina' (Venice 1614). Although developed in the context of traditional medicine, concepts such as 'weight', 'measurement' and 'certainty' became essential pillars of his thought and for this reason, Santorio invented many scientific devices, among which were the first graded thermometers. Despite his relevance, however, there are no recent studies on Santorio. The goal of my research would be to illustrate the medical impetus towards cont rolled experimentation and quantitative measurement in the cultural context of the end of the Renaissance. Considering Santorio's wide legacy across the Europe, the research would also show how the development of instruments has driven medicine in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Amount: £127,884
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Putative gene regulatory functions of Csy1, a component of the CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune system, in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 15 Sep 2015

It is becoming increasingly clear that CRISPR-Cas (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats; CRISPR associated) systems function beyond adaptive immunity. Preliminary data show that CRISPR-Cas deletion from Pseudomonas aeruginosa reduces both in vitro fitness and in vivo virulence. These phenotypes are caused by Csy1, a Cas protein thought to be involved in sequence-specific binding of the 5'-handle of crRNA. We hypothesise that Csy1 regulates expression of genes carrying sequen ce motifs similar to the 5'-handle. We will test this hypothesis by (1) transcriptome analysis of WT and Csy1 deletion mutants, (2) RIP-seq analysis of RNA co-purifying with Csy1 and (3) EMSA to measure sequence specificity of Csy1-RNA interactions. This project will reveal whether Csy1 of the P. aeruginosa CRISPR-Cas system is involved in a gene regulation function and will identify specific RNA motifs targeted by Csy1. If successful, the data from this seed project will serve as a basis for a full grant proposal aimed at (1) validating the Csy1-motif interactions in vivo (2) generalising Csy1-mediated gene regulation across P. aeruginosa strains and (3) testing the impact of Csy1 on P. aeruginosa virulence in other, more relevant, infection models, such as cell culture and thermally injured mouse infection models.

Amount: £99,981
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Monogenic diabetes in Iran. 01 May 2015

The aim of this seed project is to establish a collaboration with hospital-based researchers in Iran to understand monogenic diabetes in this Middle Eastern country. This study is important: (i) The prevalence of diabetes and obesity is high in Iran; family history and clinical criteria used in Europe may not be useful in diagnosis. Correct diagnosis is important because monogenic forms can often be treated with oral agents rather than insulin. (ii) The rate of consanguinity is high; identificat ion of new recessive mutations/genes is easier in consanguineous families, which will inform us about the underlying mechanism and diagnostic tests for monogenic diabetes. (iii) This will be the first study of the genetics of monogenic diabetes in Iran using next generation sequencing and whole-exome sequencing. I work with one of the leading groups in monogenic diabetes (led by Professors Hattersley and Ellard). I aim to (i) Establish a collaboration with Iranian clinicians and set up cohorts of monogenic diabetes. (ii) Use advances in DNA sequencing to assess the role of known and novel genes in the pathogenesis of monogenic diabetes. (iii) Use known genetic variants and non-genetic biomarkers to help classify young patients into type 1 diabetes or likely monogenic diabetes.

Amount: £93,819
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Applying the power of genetics to increase knowledge of underlying mechanisms of recessively inherited congenital hyperinsulinism. 29 Oct 2014

This project will search for novel genetic causes of recessively inherited congenital hyperinsulinism in patients born to consanguineous parents in whom all the known genetic causes of HI have been excluded 1. Using genetic approaches to localise the genetic location of the aetiological gene I will use genome-wide SNP analysis to identify large (>3cM) homozygous segments, which are identical by descent in all 187 subjects. To refine gene localisation I will: a. Genotype additional affecte d and unaffected family members b. Search for shared haplotypes across families in ethnically matched apparently unrelated individuals c. Combine analysis of unrelated individuals with shared extra- pancreatic features d. Combine analysis of multiple families with isolated hyperinsulinism to identify shared regions of homozygosity. 2. Next generation sequencing to identify potential variants Potential aetiological variants in coding and non-coding regions will be detected within the refin ed regions of linkage by genome sequencing in key family members. 3. Confirming aetiological role of variants To define a novel aetiological gene needs replication in multiple families and finding different variants in the same gene. Therefore potential aetiological genes will be sequenced in the larger cohort. When there is clear genetic evidence we will go on perform appropriate functional studies to investigate disease mechanism(s).

Amount: £773,545
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Greek diet, health and medicine in the Roman world conference 30 Sep 2015

The conference, entitled Greek diet, health and medicine in the Roman world, will be held at the University of Exeter from September 9-11, 2015. The study of diet, health and medicine in the Roman world, from an archaeological perspective, has grown exponentially in the last few decades with the increased study of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological remains as well as advances in isotopic analysis. Nevertheless, the impact of Greek concepts on Roman beliefs and practices has never been fully explored, and at present, there has been no amalgamation of the literary and archaeological evidence. Speakers from the UK, Italy, Germany, Greece, Israel and the United States will be presenting papers that examine the impact of Greek thought on Roman notions of diet, health and medicine from both the literary and archaeological perspectives with the key goal of forming a more holistic understanding of the activities taking place to maintain good health amongst both the elite and non-elite members of Roman society. After a strict selection process, the proceedings of the conference will be published by the conference organizing committee in an edited volume.

Amount: £5,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference 2015. 29 May 2015

Now in its third consecutive year, the Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference at the University of Exeter provides a welcoming and collegial atmosphere for students at all stages of their postgraduate career. The deadline for abstracts has now closed, and we are delighted to be welcoming over fifty delegates from a wide range of disciplines and institutions, including speakers from Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Australia, the USA, and India. In additio n to postgraduates working in the areas of Film, Literature, History, Classics, and Archaeology, the conference will also include papers by medical students. Specific sessions will include a workshop on public engagement run by the organisers, a panel bringing together archivists and curators of interest to medical humanities scholars, and workshops from the Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre and the University of Falmouth. We hope that the conference will promote interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration. We also hope to provoke lively debate about the intersection of medical practice and the medical humanities.

Amount: £1,600
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

A Pseudo-Aristotelian Medical/Magical Arabic Manuscript. 20 Apr 2015

This project will produce a preliminary transcription and an article describing the contents of a manuscript containing an influential, previously unedited work of Arabic Hermetic magic, The Book of Venus. It will elucidate its reliance on the concept of man-as-microcosm, and other ideas central to medieval medical, philosophical, and scientific literature. By describing the relation of this manuscript to other similar manuscripts, this article will help scholars navigate an important but poorly -understood body of texts that survive mainly in manuscript form. It will also explore the decisions of the manuscripts compiler in presenting these medical-magical texts and their intriguing illustrations.

Amount: £3,189
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Gender stereotypes in ADHD diagnosis. 31 Mar 2015

This small-scale social epidemiology project seeks to establish evidence for a gender bias in the diagnosis of childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It will question whether boys are more likely to receive a diagnosis than girls, given equally severe symptoms. Social epidemiologists in child psychiatry have suggested there is likely to be both real differences in ADHD symptomology between genders and additional referral / identification bias towards boys. The latter m ay be because ADHD is stereotyped as a 'male disorder', therefore boys are more likely to be assigned the label, whereas girls with comparable difficulties are overlooked. The methodology will be a secondary analysis of data from a birth cohort which comprises 14,000 children. Two groups, one with, and one without ADHD diagnosis will be matched on symptom severity. Gender ratios will be compared between these two groups. It is important to establish whether there is referral/ labelling bia s to help clinicians recognise girls who might benefit from ADHD diagnosis. The findings will also inform on-going debates about over-diagnosis of ADHD in boys. Outputs include one journal article, a press release, and workshops with ADHD charities.

Amount: £4,985
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Detinova on Safari: Forgotten Histories of Global Health. 27 Oct 2014

This pilot project explores the influences of Soviet tropical medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. It takes as its focus a method of mosquito dissection pioneered in the 1940s by a team of vector biologists based at the Moscow Martsinovsky Institute. The Detinova Technique offered a way to determine the exact physiological age of the female mosquito and provided insight into the dynamics of disease transmission. Heralded as a game-changer for global malaria eradication efforts, the technique prompted new collaborations and rivalries between East and West. The global health trajectory of this method reveals alternative histories of malaria control through a rather different set of techno-scientific circulations than those commonly associated with the WHO. Extending previous ethnographic and archival research conducted in Africa with archival and memory work in Russia and the UK, this project explores the significance of this scientific exchange for our current understandings of malaria contr ol and the Cold War, advancing a rapprochement in Anglo-Russian histories of global health.

Amount: £4,977
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Institutional Strategic Support Fund FY2013/14 14 Oct 2013

The aim of this fund is to support outstanding research within the remit of the Wellcome Trust - biomedical sciences and medical humanities - that will enable the University to strategically advance research in these areas and to leverage further funding from the Wellcome Trust and other funding sources. The scope of this funding is open to all university research staff, across all of the discipline areas, but in particular to: to support outstanding postdoctoral researchers allowing them to generate preliminary data to support independent Fellowship applications; to support early career academics by enabling them to generate preliminary data in support of research grant applications; to support mid-career and senior academics working in Wellcome Trust remit areas wishing to make a transition towards research in the remit of the Wellcome Trust and/or seeking to apply to the Trust for the first time; and to support newly recruited research staff seeking pump priming support for a new activity that will lead to a Wellcome Trust application, with first time applicants to the Trust particularly encouraged. If awarded, there is a commitment from the award holder to carry out the following: To provide the ISSF project team/project manager with regular updates on progress To provide a final report to the ISSF Project Board within two months of completion of the award which will cover the following: how the funds were used; the outcomes of the activity and the extent to which the proposed aims and objectives were achieved; how the funding has led, or will lead, to an application/award to an external funder; a list of publications either in press or out to print To include ISSF Biomedical Hub members involved in the award as authors on any resulting publications unless stated otherwise in the application To acknowledge the ISSF funding in all publications arising as a result of the award by including the following statement - "This work was generously supported by a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Award (WT097835MF)" To cost in ISSF Biomedical Hub members involved in the award into related future funding applications

Amount: £500,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter
Amount: £21,439
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open access publishing costs 2014/15. 15 Sep 2014

Not available

Amount: £36,560
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Death by Rubber Duck - a community project to determine the effects of removing BPA from the diet of schoolchildren. 08 Jul 2014

Young people will be given the opportunity to lead an empirical research project whilst being mentored in aspects of scientific research from project planning to public engagement; a unique form of citizen science which will pilot the possibilities afforded by this novel approach to conducting publicly-engaged research. The project is focused on assessment of the biological effects of reducing the levels of a plastics additive (Bisphenol A; BPA) a chemical commonly found in food and drinks packa ging, by consumption of fresh or unpackaged foods. Epidemiological studies have shown that chemicals such as BPA present in the food we eat can impact our health. Work from collaborators has indicated that levels of several common chemicals associated with food packaging can be reduced by up to 70% in just one week by simple dietary interventions. Here, we will work with approximately 120 A/AS level students who, as scientists and participants, will attend a series of workshops to design an inte rvention study and learn about environmental factors that may influence human health. They will undertake the dietary intervention, designed to reduce BPA levels, assess the outcomes (urinary BPA levels and expression level of BPA-responsive genes), analyse the results, contribute to a publication as a consortium and devise and deliver a programme of community engagement for examples through, talks, social media and exhibitions. The project has the potential to make a significant contribution to the scientific literature as well as facilitating public discussions about BPA, health and wider issues of conducting scientific research.

Amount: £30,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Birth, Marriage and Sex in Eighteenth Century Wales. 13 May 2014

My proposed research will examine the social, cultural and medical history of childbirth in eighteenth-century Wales. My focus will be on the experience of reproduction and childbirth for unmarried mothers and on perinatal mortality, which I believe can be linked to a diverse typology of illegitimacies that carried varying levels of acceptability which influenced perinatal survival rates. My key goals will include investigation of the following: - What forms of courtship, cohabitation and p re-marital conjugal union were acceptable within communities? - Did rates of infant mortality vary for illegitimate births resulting from both acceptable and unacceptable sexual unions? - What childbirth customs and practices existed in eighteenth-century Wales and were they different for unmarried parturient women? - To what extent were there regional variations between in childbirth customs and practices, and in the role of midwives in England and Wales? - Did the largely rural nature of Welsh settlements affect accessibility to the services of a midwife and did this affect mortality rates? - What impact did medical advances in childbirth in the eighteenth century have on Wales?

Amount: £84,588
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Cultivating Relaxation in Twentieth-Century Britain. 05 Aug 2014

The project is a cultural history of the rise of relaxation therapy in twentieth-century Britain. It will analyse how relaxation teachings and ideologies have been created and assigned therapeutic value in specific socio-political contexts. The project will comprise three interconnected research strands, identifying how relaxation has been adapted and adopted by particular populations, and applied to particular health concerns. First, it will investigate the devising and application of relaxatio n techniques to transform experiences of childbirth in the interwar and postwar periods; second, it will explain how relaxation was made therapeutically relevant to the growing population of cardiac disease sufferers, especially due to its demonstrable ability to lower blood pressure; and third, it will analyse its proliferation to the general population from the 1960s as an increasingly commercialized collection of self-help methods for dealing with the stress of modernity. It will elucidate th e ways in which relaxation has been constructed as a clinical skill to be learnt and cultivated, and will examine its pedagogical material culture. By looking at how relaxation has been successively medicalized, professionalized and popularized, it aims to provide a comparative analysis for the growth of the contemporary Western, therapeutic mindfulness movement.

Amount: £148,407
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Using genetics to understand how the maternal intrauterine environment influences fetal growth. 04 Jun 2014

The primary aim of this project is to use analyses of genetic data in the largest and best-characterised studies of mothers and offspring to understand which factors in the maternal intrauterine environment are causally associated with birth weight. I will construct and validate genetic risk scores for maternal traits (including fasting glucose, BMI, vitamin D levels) and test these for association with offspring birth weight in a meta-analysis of 245,000 individuals from the UK Biobank and E arly Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium (including N=37,000 accurately phenotyped individuals and N=25,220 maternal-fetal pairs to control for confounding by fetal genotype). Strong evidence of association between a genetic risk score for a maternal trait and birth weight will indicate a causal association. Further analyses of associations between genetic risk scores and cord-blood insulin levels, neonatal adiposity and postnatal growth will enable us to begin to characterise the mechanisms linkin g causal maternal factors to fetal growth. The identification of causal associations will provide extremely important information linking modifiable maternal factors with offspring birth weight and thereby informing decisions on pregnancy management for healthy fetal growth.

Amount: £849,529
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

University of Exeter Medical Humanities Postgraduate Conference. 27 May 2014

The Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter will be holding a two day interdisciplinary medical humanities conference for postgraduate students on the 24th and 25th July 2014. The conference will bring together the highest quality postgraduate research in all fields of the medical humanities and encourage cross-disciplinary discussion. In addition to papers from forty delegates the event will also include two keynote addresses, a panel discussion with keynotes and department membe rs, and a presentation from Wellcome Trust representatives about humanities funding opportunities.

Amount: £1,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter