Diabetes UK and JDRF UK launch pioneering £50 million partnership with Steve Morgan Foundation

Dipesh Patel, Chair ABCD
Date of the announcement: 
Thursday, 28 April, 2022

Diabetes UK and JDRF are delighted to announce a new, game changing research funding partnership that aims to transform the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes and see the UK lead the global race to a cure.

For the last year the charities, together with the entire diabetes community, have been celebrating 100 years since the discovery of a treatment that has saved millions of lives around the world – insulin. This was an incredible breakthrough and has sparked a century of life-changing diabetes discoveries.

Today, during the centenary anniversary of the first use of insulin to treat type 1 diabetes, they’re delighted to announce that £50 million – the largest ever single philanthropic gift in the UK for diabetes research - has been donated by the Steve Morgan Foundation (SMF) for type 1 diabetes research.

The Foundation was founded in 2001 by Steve Morgan CBE to support projects that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, the elderly, or those that are socially disadvantaged. Steve, and his wife and SMF Trustee Sally, are driven by their personal connection with type 1 diabetes - their son Hugo was diagnosed with the condition at the age of seven.

Diabetes UK and JDRF UK have partnered with the Foundation to invest £50 million over five years in the “SMF Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge” with the shared aim of developing new treatments and ultimately finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.  Diabetes UK will administer the SMF funding alongside its usual research budget, which will continue to support scientists working in all areas of diabetes through existing Diabetes UK funding schemes.

The SMF Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge will focus on:

  • Treatments to replace or rescue insulin-making beta cells in the pancreas
  • Treatments to stop the immune system’s attack that destroys insulin-making beta cells
  • Novel insulins, such as those that respond to changing blood sugar levels.

The priorities adopted by the SMF Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge were identified through work with people affected by type 1 diabetes, healthcare professionals and research experts, as documented in Diabetes UK’s 2020-2025 research strategy, the Diabetes Research Steering Groups and JDRF’s International research strategy.

The SMF Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge will encourage the research community to work collaboratively to deliver ambitious and innovative research projects at scale in these three areas, led out of the UK.

Alongside their campaigning and policy work, this kind of research is fundamental to the fight against diabetes.

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