Project period: February – June 2019 

GW4 community leads 
University of Bristol: Kathleen Gillespie, Alistair Williams, Anna Long 
Cardiff University: Danijela Tatovic, Colin Dayan, Susan Wong 
University of Exeter: Sarah Richardson (PI), Noel Morgan, Richard Oram, Angus Jones, Andrew Hattersley, Bev Shields, Tim McDonald 

Project overview 

The GW4 Type 1 Diabetes Centre of Excellence will reveal the causes of diabetes leading to improved patient stratification and tailored therapies. 


Over 250,000 people in the UK have Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and more than 50% of cases are diagnosed in childhood. Remarkably, since the discovery of insulin in 1921 no new treatments have been developed. The Universities of Exeter, Cardiff and Bristol are recognised as centres of excellence for T1D research, have enormous complementary strengths, and all have a major focus on disease stratification. Globally, a ‘treat first, think later’ mentality is frequently applied to T1D therapy as the heterogeneity of the disease is not understood. This proposal will bring together experts from these centres of excellence for a dedicated 2 day workshop, to carefully dissect the stratified patient groups they each have independently identified. They will determine if there are distinct sub-groups of patients, who need to be managed and treated differently, and will push forward a common vision to improve T1D care based on personalised treatment for their specific form of the disease. This would put the Southwest of England at the forefront of stratified T1D research, where we ‘think first and treat later’. 

Project summary 

The GW4 Initiator funding enabled us to bring together clinicians and researchers from three different institutions all of whom are leaders in the field of Type 1 diabetes, but whose research focus is complementary but varied. With our exceptional strengths in complimentary areas this newly developed network has the potential to change the way we diagnose, manage and treat people with this condition.  

The community held a two-day workshop to specifically discuss stratification and treatment in Type 1 diabetes. This meeting provided a unique and focused environment in which to present our distinct research backgrounds, identify where we complement one another and helped us to identify research gaps we are well placed to address together. The community have collaborated on several successful funding applications (totalling >£500k) with more submitted or planned and have identified several potential future research areas. 

Community site (GW4 Portal)