The Washington Singer building, on the University's Streatham Campus in Exeter, is home to the School of Psychology's Mood Disorders Centre.

New £3.6 million research facility for Exeter

The South West is set to benefit from a new research facility aimed at improving psychological interventions for mood and personality disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Up to 400 people a year could have the opportunity to take part in treatment via clinical research, which involves improving access to innovative evidence-based psychological therapies.

The University of Exeter is one of nine of the UK’s universities to receive awards totalling almost £30 million under the Wellcome Trust's Capital Awards in Biomedical Sciences initiative. The University’s Mood Disorders Centre has been awarded with £3.6 million to create a new, internationally-competitive research facility.

Professor Ed Watkins of the Mood Disorders Centre, part of the University’s School of Psychology, said: "This support will directly enhance our ability to improve psychological treatments for mood disorders, which are highly prevalent and cause considerable distress, disability, and economic burden. It will provide state-of-the art laboratory facilities to study the underlying psychological mechanisms and inform the development of more targeted and effective therapies. It will also provide a purpose-built treatment centre, allowing us to conduct clinical trials to determine which of these new treatments work best and to further improve existing treatments."

The University hopes the facility will open in spring 2011. It will have the capacity for up to 400 people a year to take part in psychological therapy.

Launched in 2007 to follow the successful Joint Infrastructure and Science Research Innovation Fund partnerships, the Capital Awards provide funding of over £1 million to successful applicants for large scale projects – either new builds or refurbishments – in partnership with the host institution. The scheme is intended to facilitate leading-edge psychological research that would not otherwise have been possible.

Universities from across the UK – from Exeter to St Andrews, London to Liverpool – have received awards of between £1.1 million and £6 million under the scheme.

"Researchers need the best facilities and most up-to-date technology in order to carry out world class research," says Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. "The Capital Awards will provide the necessary infrastructure for some of the best scientists in the UK."

The Mood Disorders Centre is a partnership between the NHS and University of Exeter. It undertakes research, offers clinical services and provides training with the aim of helping people who suffer from depression.

The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending over £600 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.

Date: 17 October 2008

Read more University News