Investing in research to accelerate the development of new treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Young child hugging parent

The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge is a partnership between the Steve Morgan Foundation, Diabetes UK and JDRF.

We are united by our ambition to cure type 1 diabetes

For 100 years insulin has been the only treatment for type 1 diabetes but we’re on the cusp of a new era. The partnership is investing £50 million into the most promising projects led by exceptional scientists to fast-track discoveries that will lead to life-changing new treatments and ultimately a cure.

By harnessing the power of collaboration, targeting research
areas with the greatest potential, and stimulating bold, innovative research at scale, we’re creating change that will improve the lives of millions of people with type 1 diabetes.

Founding partners

Scientific Advisory Panels

The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge takes counsel from three Scientific Advisory Panels. These are independent panels of leading international scientists with specialist diabetes knowledge.

Over the 5-year funding period, they advise the Partnership on the scientific scope and optimum funding mechanisms for the three research streams which make up the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge.


Professor Simon Heller

Professor Heller is a world-renowned diabetes specialist and Chair of the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge Scientific Advisory Panels. He is Professor of Clinical Diabetes at the University of Sheffield, Director of Research and Development and Honorary Consultant Physician
at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and National Diabetes Speciality Lead for the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Professor Heller is being supported on each Panel by a subject-matter expert Vice-Chair.

  • Root causes of type 1 diabetes
    Professor Chantal Mathieu

    Professor Mathieu is Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel advising on the research stream focused on the root causes of type 1 diabetes. She is Professor of Medicine at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Chair of Endocrinology at the University Hospital Gasthuisberg Leuven, Senior Vice President of European Association for the Study of Diabetes and distinguished for her pioneering work on prevention and intervention in type 1 diabetes.


    • Professor Jay Skyler, Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami, USA
    • Professor Mark Atkinson, Director, UF Diabetes Institute, The University of Florida, USA
    • Professor Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, Technical University of Munich, Germany
    • Professor Roberto Mallone, INSERM Cochin Institute, Paris, France
  • Novel insulins
    Dr Tim Heise

    Professor Heise is Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel advising on the research stream focused on novel insulins. He is Lead Scientist at Profil Institute for Metabolic Research in Neuss, Germany and a world-leading expert on the pharmacology of insulin.


    • Dr David Kelley, Physician-Scientist in metabolism research, Previously of Merck
    • Professor John Buse, Director, Diabetes Center, Director, NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, University of North Carolina
    • Dr Reinhard Becker, physician and chemist, Previously of Sanofi
    • Dr Diane McCarthy, USP, Maryland, USA
  • Replacing beta cells
    Professor Matthias Hebrok

    Professor Hebrok is Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel advising on the research stream focused on beta cell replacement therapies. He is the Hurlbut-Johnson Distinguished Professor in Diabetes Research and Director of the Diabetes Center at the University of California, San Francisco and an esteemed diabetes expert on beta cell function and stem cell-based therapies for type 1 diabetes.


    • Professor Jorge Ferrer, Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology
    • Professor Doug Melton, Vertex
    • Professor Lorenzo Piemonti, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
    • Professor Lori  Sussel, University of Colorado
    • Professor Qizhi Tang, University of California San Francisco

Putting people affected by type 1 diabetes at the heart of research.

The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge brings together scientists and the type 1 community to drive forward progress in areas that matter most to people with type 1.

Scientific equipment