A host of charities across the UK has been awarded research grants worth Pounds 23.4 million by the National Lottery Charities Board. A total of 139 health and social research organisations will benefit from the funding, after over 500 applications were considered by the Charities Board.
The largest single award went to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which has research centres at Edinburgh and Oxford universities. The charity was granted Pounds 563,748, which will be used to develop a gene-based treatment to remove the inflammation that blocks airways and damages lung tissues.
A further 64 medical research projects will receive a clutch of grants valued at just over Pounds 12 million. Other beneficiaries include the National Schizophrenic Fellowship and the Breast Cancer Campaign, which have research centres at the Universities of Loughborough and Edinburgh respectively.
The Samaritans, which has been granted over Pounds 200,000, is just one of 74 charities that are to carry out a school-based survey of 5,000 15 and 16-year-olds in order to assess the prevalence of self-harm or suicidal thoughts in teenagers. Project leader Keith Horton, from Oxford University's department of psychiatry, welcomed the investment.
Other social research projects include bereavement, child protection policies in special needs boarding schools, and a study into the effects of retirement.
Diana Britten, chair of the National Lottery Charities Board, emphasised the importance of the funding allocations.
"They recognise the importance of the scientific community and the voluntary sector that supports it. We look forward to the successful implementation of these projects to help improve the quality of life for people in need," Ms Britten said.