Wellcome boost for PhD programme to tackle Leicester’s healthcare inequalities

The University of Leicester has been granted a major funding boost by the Wellcome Trust to provide improvements to healthcare inequalities in Leicestershire.

A grant of up to £7.4million will deliver opportunities for a total of 25 Research Fellows over five years from October 2022, supporting doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

The projects undertaken by these PhD researchers will look to address the unique health issues faced by Leicester and Leicestershire’s ethnically and culturally diverse population, recently amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sally Singh is Professor of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation at the University of Leicester and Head of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, and leads the Leicestershire Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme (LHIIP).

Professor Singh said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious funding.  We have two clear ambitions, firstly to tackle inequalities in health care provision and secondly to address inequalities in academic opportunities for our healthcare professionals.”

Funding provided by the Wellcome PhD Programme for Health Professionals will cover three years’ salary for each Fellow as well as experimental research costs and training, delivered in partnership with Loughborough University, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester City Council’s Public Health team, and Leicester City CCG.

The Fellows will also benefit from well-established partnerships across the regional and national health care system, local government, industry and community groups in addition to the expertise at Leicester.

Professor Thompson Robinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences at the University of Leicester, said: “The importance of opportunities for early-career researchers cannot be overstated. This programme is a fantastic example of collaboration between the University, Trust and partners to tackle healthcare issues and inequalities right here in our region.

“It is also fantastic to see that the programme, through generous funding by the Wellcome Trust, will nurture our next generation of researchers to become leaders in their field, as well as providing opportunities for researchers from ethnically diverse communities in line with the strategic objectives for our second Century.”

Applications are now open to the scheme, to start in October 2022.

Leicestershire Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Doctoral Training Programme

Launch of the scheme follows a multimillion pound University investment in early-career researchers, through plans for 100 PhD scholarships across all three Colleges, including the College of Life Sciences.

One hundred new PhD researchers will contribute to the strategic aim of driving ambitious innovation, research and enterprise in Leicester over the next decade, in a wide range of disciplines from space exploration to medicine, social inclusion to climate change – and a whole lot more in between.