Biggest-ever philanthropic gift to diabetes research brings type 1 cure closer

September 14, 2022

In April 2022, as part of celebrations marking 100 years since insulin was first used to treat type 1 diabetes, a new partnership between the Steve Morgan Foundation, Diabetes UK and JDRF was announced, with the aim of transforming the lives of people with type 1 diabetes and leading the race towards a cure.

With an incredible and unprecedented £50 million investment from the Steve Morgan Foundation, the partnership will fund game-changing type 1 diabetes research that will pave the way to the development of new treatments and a cure.

The Steve Morgan Foundation’s £50 million donation is the largest ever single gift in the UK for diabetes research, and this is the first time that Diabetes UK and JDRF have partnered with a Foundation to deliver research at this scale.

Beyond Insulin

Steve and Sally Morgan are driven by their personal connection with the condition – Sally’s son Hugo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of seven. They know how relentless managing this serious condition is and are making their generous, game-changing donation to drive innovations and breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes research, with the goal of ultimately finding a cure.

The monumental breakthrough 100 years ago when insulin was first used to treat a person with type 1 diabetes has since saved the lives of millions of people, but managing type 1 with insulin is exhausting, avoiding blood sugar lows and highs near impossible and many people will develop diabetes complications. This new partnership aims to move beyond insulin in its current form as the only treatment for type 1 diabetes and get us closer to a cure.

Over five years, the Foundation’s donation will fund the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge. The Challenge will call on scientists to come up with research ideas that are bigger, bolder, and more collaborative than ever seen before.

We listened to world-class scientists and people with diabetes to help narrow down the research areas that the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge will focus on. Three areas were identified as carrying the most potential to improve the lives of people with type 1 and propel us towards a cure.

Bigger pots, bigger ideas

The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge is a very different and exciting way of funding research. It will support projects of a greater scale, bringing the world’s best scientists together to kick-start new areas of exploration and innovative thinking. This could see us take huge leaps instead of small steps towards a cure for type 1 diabetes.

The first calls for research proposals are expected to open later this year. These will focus on treatments to replace or rescue beta cells and next generation insulins.

At Diabetes UK we invest more than £6 million every year into new research projects looking at all types of diabetes and its complications. The Steve Morgan Foundation’s £50 million investment will come on top of our usual research budget, which will continue to support scientists working to prevent and cure type 2 diabetes, deepen our understanding of rarer types of diabetes, and tackle diabetes complications.