University of Exeter - Delivering world-leading diabetes research

Quality related “QR” funding has helped University of Exeter become a world leader in diabetes research, delivering programmes that have improved treatments, helped prevent thousands of people developing diabetes in the first place and secured significant cost savings for the NHS.

The flexibility of QR funding has allowed Exeter to support new research posts and make investments in molecular genetics facilities that have helped the university attract £36 million in additional R&D funding since 2012/13. As an international centre of excellence, Exeter research has focused on biological causes and mechanisms of diabetes, improvements to diagnostic approaches and tools, and improvements to treatment and prevention.

Improved testing developed by Exeter is now routinely used within the NHS and 30 countries worldwide to test for neonatal diabetes. Scotland’s adoption of routine testing of those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, has led to 6-12% being re-classified by the use of inexpensive Exeter-developed C-peptide tests. The correct diagnosis improves glucose control, reduces diabetes-related complications and the costs of care.

Exeter's diabetes research has supported the development of improved UK clinical guidelines, revolutionised training and support networks for NHS practitioners working in diabetes and boosted treatments. Research breakthroughs and insights have delivered significant cost savings for the NHS, with an economic impact analysis of one programme designed to prevent or delay the onset of type II diabetes estimating an overall economic net benefit to UK health services of £1.2 billion over five years. This is based on cost savings from reduced health expenditure and the health gains from the reallocation of these savings within the NHS.

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