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Nurturing the people behind diabetes discoveries

Great diabetes research can’t happen without great researchers. So we invest in the people who are the driving force behind life-changing discoveries.

We encourage the best minds to dedicate their life’s work to researching diabetes. And we support those already doing so to pursue their passions and ideas, and develop into world-leading scientists. Because we know that their work will benefit people affected by diabetes for years to come.


Dr Craig Beall received a fellowship from us to build his research career and explore new treatments to prevent low blood sugars, known as hypos. He said: 

Craig Beall
Dr Beall as an RD Lawrence fellow at the University of Exeter

“If Diabetes UK’s funding wasn't there, I don't know what the funding landscape or the diabetes work in the UK would look like. They’ve created this huge group of researchers that have given us new knowledge.  The breakthroughs that come from Diabetes UK’s funding have really made an impact in terms of saving and extending lives.

“Without that very valuable funding, those discoveries wouldn't have happened or would have happened much later. It has fundamentally allowed us to bring life-changing treatments to people sooner.”

The people that make research happen

We’ve been the launchpad for many of today’s leading UK diabetes scientists. Propelling them to the top of their fields and empowering them to make breakthroughs that make a real difference for people with diabetes.

Professor Anna Gloyn is recognised around the world for her groundbreaking genetic discoveries that have led to new ways of diagnosing and treating different forms of diabetes.

We’ve been with her since the early stages of her diabetes research career. In 2004, we awarded Professor Gloyn an RD Lawrence career development fellowship. It allowed her to set up and lead her research team at the University of Oxford to study the secrets of insulin-making beta cells by looking at genetic ‘spelling mistakes’ that cause rare forms of diabetes. She said:

“Taking your first steps towards independence as a scientist is not easy. Funding options which cover your salary and provide sufficient resources to establish your own research project are limited and highly competitive.

“I was so fortunate that I was awarded a Diabetes UK career development fellowship: it covered my salary, provided resources for me to support a research nurse and technician and sufficient funds for my three-year project, which took my research in a new direction.

“Being part of the Diabetes UK research family provided me with mentorship, allyship and visibility. I am so grateful for the investment Diabetes UK made in me.”


Professor Gloyn as an RD Lawrence fellow at the University of Oxford, with her team

Her discoveries have meant better treatments and a dramatically improved quality of life for people with rare types of diabetes. And have given us important first insights into key genes and biological processes that affect how beta cells work and how our body uses insulin. This helps scientists to find new, more personalised ways of treating type 2 diabetes.

Today Professor Gloyn leads a world-class lab at Stanford University in the USA. She continues to be a leader in uncovering more about the genetic basis of different forms of diabetes. And in making sure these discoveries inform better care that transforms lives.


How we support researchers to grow their skills

We’ve built up the UK’s diabetes scientific community by:

  • Kickstarting careers in diabetes research

We attract the best minds and talents into diabetes research. We give PhD students, early career researchers and healthcare professionals the support and resources they need to get started.

  • Helping scientists stay in diabetes research for the long run

Our fellowships help researchers secure permanent positions and lead their own teams, allowing them to carry on their life-changing work for the long haul.

  • Helping scientists navigate career challenges

We give researchers the flexibility, time and budget they need to succeed.

  • Helping scientists win further funding

Research doesn’t stop after just one project. Breakthroughs take time and money. Our investment helps researchers get more funding to continue testing their ideas and reach eureka moments, that change lives.

  • Inspiring the next wave of research talent

We help researchers become great mentors. They pass on their knowledge and encourage the next generation of up-and-coming scientists, making sure the future of diabetes research is in safe hands.

Encouraging diversity

Looking ahead we want to do better at attracting underrepresented researchers into diabetes.

We’ve launched schemes to support diabetes researchers from Black backgrounds in the UK to take their first steps into diabetes research. By making sure the research community is representative of the diverse mix of people living with diabetes in the UK, we can help to address inequalities in the understanding and care of diabetes.

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