Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Wellcome Trust is a United Kingdom-based charity established in 1936 to disburse the fortune of the pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome and the income of Burroughs Wellcome & Co. It is commonly referred to as the world's richest medical charity, with funds of £9,000 million as of 2003. The mission of the Trust is "to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health." As well as funding biomedical research, it supports the public understanding of science.
In 1986 in an effort to diversify the trust sold 25% of Burroughs Wellcome to the public, beginning a gradual process of separating itself from the business. In 1995 Burroughs Wellcome merged with Glaxo to form Glaxo Wellcome, which then in 2000 merged with SmithKline Beecham to form GlaxoSmithKline.
The Wellcome Trust invests more than £400 million per annum in biomedical research. Most of this goes to support research that adds to our understanding of health and disease but has no immediate application. Medical benefits may emerge years later. Many major successes have been achieved through Wellcome Trust funding, including:
- Sequencing of the human genome at the Sanger Institute
- Development of the antimalarial drug artemisinin
- Pioneering cognitive behavioural therapies for psychological disorders
- Establishing the UK Biobank
- Building of the Wellcome Wing at the Science Museum (London)
The Trust's headquarters are on Euston Road in London. The original building built in 1932 in Portland stone has an impressive interior. Next door is the new building by Michael Hopkins, opened in 2004. The old building is also home to the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine , a library open to the public without charge, which contains over 600,000 volumes.
The Wellcome Trust also established the Burroughs Wellcome Fund in the US.
Hall, A.R. & Bembridge, B.A. Physic and philanthropy: a history of the Wellcome Trust 1936-1986. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-521-32639-7
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