Ben Bradshaw MP, Naomi Gilbert of the Mood Disorders Centre Lived Experience Group, and Professor Mark Goodwin, Dean of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, get work under way at the turf-cutting ceremony.

Ceremony marks start of work on £3.6 million research facility

The start of work to create a £3.6 million research centre to improve the understanding and treatment of depression has been marked with a turf-cutting ceremony.

Part of the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre, the Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Centre will provide state of the art facilities to carry out basic experimental and applied clinical research into mood disorders.

The centre will provide facilities for more than 400 people a year in the South West to take part in clinical research to improve understanding of depression and develop new psychological treatments for depression.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust Capital Awards in Biomedical Science initiative, the new development will sit behind the Washington Singer building on the University’s Streatham Campus.

MP Ben Bradshaw joined University academics and people who have experienced depression to mark the start of the building work.

Professor Ed Watkins, of the Mood Disorders Centre and Director of the new building, said: "When completed, this will be a world-class facility which will consolidate Exeter’s reputation as one of the top centres for mood disorder research in the UK. As well as helping those people who come through the doors each year, the research carried out here will help people with depression throughout the UK and internationally.
“The new facilities will be vital to pushing forward that research, helping us to study the underlying psychological mechanisms behind depression so we can develop new more effective and more widely available therapies. The new Virtual Reality and Biobehavioural Laboratory will enable us to examine the processes that influence mood disorders in innovative ways, and the purpose-built treatment centre will allow us to carry out high-quality clinical trials to evaluate treatments and make sure they work in practice.”
Dr John Williams, Head of Clinical Activities, Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, said: "This new facility will fill a gap in mental health research, helping to develop and test psychological interventions to tackle depression. The Mood Disorders Centre at Exeter is one of the leading centres in the UK for this type of research, and this new facility will help the research team play a leading role in this important area.”

Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, said: “Depression occurs in people of all genders, ages and backgrounds, affecting more than 100 million people worldwide. Effective treatment can change peoples’ lives and this is why this centre is very important. The research done here has the potential to have a huge positive impact, not just here in the South West, but all over the world. It is great that Exeter is the host of this exciting and prestigious initiative.”

Construction work on the new building is due to finish in the summer of 2011.

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 a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Its Capital Awards provide funding of over £1 million to successful applicants for large scale projects in partnership with the host institution. These can be either new builds or refurbishment projects. The Awards are intended to facilitate leading-edge biomedical research that would not otherwise have been possible.

Date: 22 July 2010

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