2023 has already been a big year for the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge. In February, we opened two major funding rounds focussed on the root causes of type 1 and treatments to replace insulin-making beta cells. Then, in March, we were delighted to reveal the first researchers who’ve been awarded Grand Challenge funding.
To take stock and celebrate the progress we’ve made and the momentum that has already been built, yesterday we gathered those at the forefront of the Grand Challenge for a special event held at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference in Liverpool. It was the very first time the Steve Morgan Foundation, JDRF, Diabetes UK and the scientific experts steering and leading the Challenge were together in the same room.
We heard from the CEOs of JDRF UK, Karen Addington, and Diabetes UK, Chris Askew. It was a moment for them to thank Steve and Sally Morgan for making this endeavour possible and the Scientific Advisory Panel Chair and Vice Chairs for their invaluable guidance and support. It was also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the first Grand Challenge awardees, Prof Sarah Richardson, Dr Victoria Salem and Dr James Cantley, our Type 1 Diabetes Senior Research Fellows.
We heard from Professor Simon Heller, the Chair of our Scientific Advisory Panels, who explained how the Grand Challenge is rewriting the rule book for type 1 diabetes research – not just here in the UK but across the globe too. It was also an opportunity to hear about how the Grand Challenge has catalysed collaboration between these three amazing scientists and their institutions.
Steve and Sally Morgan rounded off the celebrations by presenting our new trio of Senior Research Fellows with bespoke plaques to mark the start of their innovative research.
We look forward to handing out more awards to the next scientists who receive Grand Challenge funding, and to growing the network of disruptive, multidisciplinary teams who will propel us closer to a cure for type 1 diabetes.