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University research facility secures £4m funding

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

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A Truro-based research facility has been awarded £3 million ERDF Convergence funding to continue its work over the next two years.

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health – which is part of the University of Exeter Medical School and based at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Knowledge Spa – has secured funding of £4 million in total, with the university providing the remainder of the finance.

The centre, which launched in May 2011, is focused upon research into ways that humans impact the environment and in turn, how the environment can impact on our health and wellbeing.

It has published a number of research findings which are directly relevant to Cornwall, and embarked upon relationships with local businesses that are helping to develop skills and promote growth.

Its research teams have already discovered a potential link between radon and skin cancer and shed light on the role that sunlight and vitamin D may play in developing eczema and food allergies.

The facility, headed by Professor Lora Fleming, has more than 50 staff and 17 PHD students, 12 of whom are currently actively working with local businesses on research projects that may generate commercial opportunities.

Professor Fleming said: "We've worked with local companies and communities to ensure our research has direct relevance to the local economy."

Chris Pomfret, deputy chair of the Convergence Local Management Committee, said: "The centre has proven itself on an international level, with its research and collaboration with Cornish companies making it an exemplar of how EU investment can boost regional innovation."

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