Disease diagnosis tops list as last of JIF riches is dished out

April 12, 2001

The last £24 million of the Joint Infrastructure Fund has been dealt out from the £750 million pot set up by the Wellcome Trust and the Department for Trade and Industry in 1998.

At the same time, the government announced £41 million to upgrade research council facilities together with a £6 million grant to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to update technology for investigating the effectiveness of drugs in fighting viruses.

The money will come from the £100 million allocated in the £1 billion Science Research Investment Fund announced last summer.

The JIF money will be spent on equipment for research primarily in the areas of disease diagnosis, understanding the human brain and man's impact on the environment.

It will go to 14 projects at 12 universities in the United Kingdom, including equipment for three new photonics laboratories to research diagnostic techniques at Imperial College, London, and a facility for fingerprinting earth materials at Cardiff University.

Mike Dexter, director of the Wellcome Trust, last week criticised the government for leaving charities to fund the running and maintenance of research facilities.

This week, he applauded the work done by the JIF to replace dilapidated buildings and dated equipment.

But he added: "It should be seen as only the beginning. Hard-pressed universities will need continuing support."

Overall, the JIF has been shared between 150 projects.

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