The investment in the University of Exeter Medical School has been boosted to £33 million.

Graduate donation boosts University of Exeter Medical School investment to £33 million

An Exeter graduate who went on to found the world’s largest provider of clinical trials has donated £1 million to help the University of Exeter Medical School attract the brightest and best clinicians to Devon and Cornwall.

The donation brings total planned investment in the School to nearly £33 million.

Dr Dennis Gillings studied for both a Bachelor's Degree and PhD in Mathematics at the University of Exeter. He founded Quintiles in 1982, which he led to become the largest global provider of clinical trials and commercial marketing services to the pharma and biotechnology industry. The University and five of Devon and Cornwall’s NHS Trusts are partners in a Quintiles Prime Site in the South West for Clinical trials.

Dr Gillings said: “I have been hugely impressed by the growth and development of the University of Exeter into one of the UK’s top 10 Higher Education institutions. The Medical School provides an exciting opportunity for Exeter to become a leader in medical education and research. My investment will help the University to attract the brightest and best staff to work in Devon and Cornwall.”

Medicine in Exeter has also attracted £4.75 million of funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation. This money is being put towards a new £19 million research, innovation, learning and development centre in partnership with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. The centre, which will be based at the Trust’s Wonford site and is due to be completed in 2013, will form a teaching and research facility.

Paul Ramsbottom, the Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, is visiting the University of Exeter on Tuesday 28 February to discuss the Foundation’s support for Exeter. He will be formally naming another of their investments, the new Wolfson Imaging Unit in Biosciences, a suite with state-of-the-art optical, laser and electron microscopes and image analysis software.

He said: “The Wolfson Foundation is a charity that supports excellence across a range of themes. We are delighted to be supporting some of the University's exciting new infrastructure projects in medicine and the biosciences.”

The University of Exeter’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith said: “This new investment is a tremendous vote of confidence in the University of Exeter Medical School, which is already developing fast. I would like to thank Dr Gillings, the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation for their generosity. Despite the difficult economic times in which we live, their support demonstrates that it remains possible to attract funding for high quality teaching and research. Together with support from the University, this brings the total planned investment in the Medical School to nearly £33 million.”

Exemplifying the best of the Peninsula Medical School and combining it with the University of Exeter’s outstanding global reputation for academic excellence and student experience, the University of Exeter Medical School will take its first entrants in 2013. The School will operate across the South West giving students the choice of living and working in locations such as Exeter, Torbay, Plymouth and Truro, experiencing the best of Devon and Cornwall healthcare services.

Date: 28 February 2012

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