Personalised Medicine Centre (formerly THRIVE)

The Personalised Medicine Centre, through a unique partnership between Ulster University, the Clinical and Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) and the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), will provide world leading capability in data analytics, biomarker discovery and medtech development along with the capacity to perform robust clinical trials and business support to commercialise and implement new diagnostic tests, drugs and technologies.

Embedding world-class medical research in the heart of the community, the Personalised Medicine Centre (formerly THRIVE) is a visionary healthcare project which meets urgent local and global healthcare needs by embracing the potential of personalised medicine.

Personalised medicine is about finding the right treatment, for the right person, at the right time. At Ulster University our researchers study precision medicine to diagnose a range of diseases. They study genomes (DNA) of people to understand diagnosis and treatment of long-term illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In fact, Ulster University offers the only stratified medicine university course in the UK and Ireland developing a pipeline of innovative and talented graduates for the Life & Health Sciences sector in Northern Ireland.

Community-focused Healthcare Quarter 

Personalised Medicine Centre (formerly THRIVE) will create a new healthcare quarter in Derry Londonderry with the development of a new Healthcare Research Institute (HRI). It will also see the expansion of C-TRIC at Altnagelvin Hospital and outreach facilities at Strabane and Fort George.

The Personalised Medicine Centre project will feature several different elements:

Healthcare Research Institute

A new Healthcare Research Institute will contribute to the Riverfront Regeneration Programme.

Here, researchers and NHS clinicians in partnership with industry, will carry out world-class medical research to help prevent disease and to address some of the biggest health challenges of our times.

The Personalised Medicine Centre (PMC) builds upon research and awards:

  • The centre was set up in 2013 funded by an £11.5M award from ERDF InvestNI, UU, ILEX and the HSC R&D office
  • In 2014 the the first BSc and MSc in Personalised Medicine in UK & IRL were set up.  The MSc was accredited by IBMS. That year in the centre’s first REF return, UU were ranked top 5 in research power; 100% 4* rating on research environment and the centre was commended
  • In 2018 the centre was awarded funding of €8.6m from Interreg VA for personalised medicine, clinical decision making and patient safety
  • In 2020, the centre supported PCR testing in the HSC sector and NI seroprevalence PHA; £1.5m secured for COVID-19 research
  • In 2021, 14 staff returned in REF2021 and the COVID 19 LAMP Lab was established £1.26m, and accredited by x
  • From 2013-2021: Total funding awarded £23.93m; 382 publications in prestigious top quartile journals (e.g. Nature Comm, PNAS, Briefings in Bioinformatics; 14 patents).
  • Leveraged expertise to assist with COVID-19 testing, tracking and research.
  • 17 new PhD graduates, postdocs in Cambridge (Sanger, EMBL), Harvard MS, University College London,  Defence HQ UK, Industry (Intertek, Lonza).
  • Trained over 200 personalised medicine UG/PG; now working in Biotech, Pharma, Data analytics sectors or academic research.
  • Subsumed as the primary research department with the new School of Medicine at the Magee campus

Community-owned Healthcare Company

The Personalised Medicine Centre is funded by the Inclusive Future Fund (IFF) which is an exclusive fund for the City and region. It recognises the unique circumstances facing the region and will help create new opportunities for the local community.

In a first of its kind community-focused initiative, the Health Research Institute will be home to a highly novel community owned health company. The THRIVE Genome project will study the genes of the people of Derry~Londonderry and Strabane.  In-keeping with a move towards empowering a more personal responsibility for health, the people of the city and district will be shareholders of this community centre, much like a Credit Union model.

Life-changing research in areas from cancer to stroke 

Ulster University researchers, in partnership with DCSDC and Western Health and Social Care Trust, have been pioneering personalised medicine for years now. At our Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) site at Altnagelvin Hospital, researchers break new ground in areas such as childhood cancer and motor neurone disease.

Building on our world-class research and growing our team of talented researchers, the City Deal will enable the expansion of the C-TRIC research centre. The City Deal will see us establish new research centres specialising in multimorbid disease and areas such as cancer, dementia, motor neurone disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, COVID-19 and rheumatoid arthritis.

Steps towards the transformation of the health service 

This unique health-science district will generate more research, more employment, more spin out companies and more patents.

Ultimately, by specialising in personalised medicine, Ulster University and our trusted partners will pave the way for the transformation of the healthcare service in Northern Ireland.

Project Leads

Professor Tony Bjourson

Position: Professor of Genomics

School of Biomedical Sciences

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