Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge

“This unparalleled investment will change the course of type 1 diabetes research forever, galvanising the diabetes research community and accelerating us towards a cure that will change millions of lives not only in the UK but worldwide.

For the last 100 years insulin has been the only treatment for the condition, but this pivotal moment for type 1 diabetes marks the dawn of a new century of discovery. Type 1 diabetes is relentless, but so are we, and this investment catapults us towards a world where type 1 diabetes finally relents, and diabetes can do no harm.”

Chris Askew OBE

Chief Executive at Diabetes UK

Funding committed to date: £50 million

More than 400,000 people in the UK have type 1 diabetes and this number is rising year on year, yet medical research remains consistently and woefully underfunded. Insulin, 100 years after its discovery, remains the only available treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Recognising the desperate need to improve the lives of people living with this relentless condition, the Steve Morgan Foundation brought together the two major UK diabetes charities to super-charge the research towards a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Working in partnership with Diabetes UK and JDRF UK, in 2022 the Foundation invested an unprecedented £50 million into the ‘Grand Challenge’, a five-year programme to accelerate medical research into type 1 diabetes.

This £50 million donation by the Foundation represents the UK’s biggest-ever philanthropic gift to diabetes research and goes directly to where it is needed most – finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Steve and Sally Morgan have a very personal connection that has inspired this investment – Sally’s son Hugo was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of seven, and they know just how difficult it is managing and living with this serious condition.

With the Foundation’s financial support, and the expertise of Diabetes UK and JDRF UK, the Grand Challenge is funding the most promising projects led by exceptional scientists to fast-track discoveries that will lead to life-changing new treatments and ultimately a cure.

The Grand Challenge calls on scientists to come up with research ideas that are bigger, bolder, and more collaborative than ever seen before.

In collaboration with world-class scientists and people with diabetes, we have identified three areas as carrying the most potential to improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes and drive towards finding a cure:

  • Treatments to replace or restore insulin-making beta cells for people with type 1
  • Treatments to stop the immune system’s attack that destroys insulin-making beta cells
  • Next generation insulins, such as those that respond to changing blood sugar levels

We have appointed our first senior research fellows and have a number of other funding rounds underway to appoint the brightest and best UK medical research talent.

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

Keep up to date with all the latest progress and developments of the Grand Challenge here.

Visit the Grand Challenge website 


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