I fully support the formation of the Epilepsy Research Institute. It is clear that progress will not be achieved by some extraordinary discovery one afternoon in a laboratory but by incremental aggregation of different disciplines and multidisciplinary working partnerships. We need a combination of deep biological science, neural pathway mapping, AI and technologies that require our top laboratories and research institutes around the world working together.”George Freeman MP, Minister of State (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation)
01 November 2023
Epilepsy Research Institute Launch at 10 Downing Street
The Epilepsy Research Institute was officially launched on 25 October 2023 at a reception hosted by Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP. The Institute is the world’s first national research institute dedicated to epilepsy. The event brought together research leaders, industry representatives, founding partners, research programme theme leads and people affected by epilepsy. Speakers at the event included Baroness Julia Cumberlege, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, Paul Scully MP, and Epilepsy Research Institute Chair, Professor Matthew Walker.
The Epilepsy Research Institute will serve as the central hub for the epilepsy research community. The Institute’s mission is to radically advance research into the causes, prevention and treatment of epilepsy and its associated conditions. The comprehensive research strategy developed by the national research collaborative #Every1EndingEpilepsy will provide the foundation for this. The Institute aims to strengthen the epilepsy research ecosystem by driving strategic investment and developing partnerships and collaborations between academia, the NHS, industry, funders and patient groups. Central to this will be a culture of advocating and actioning the research priorities of people affected by epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Research Institute’s Founding Partners include Young Epilepsy, Epilepsy Action, Epilepsy Scotland, and the International League Against Epilepsy British Branch. By working together, the Institute will operationalise the Top Ten priorities of the UK Epilepsy Priority Setting Partnership.
Professor Matthew Walker, Chair of Trustees, “As a community, we all know the critical role research plays in improving the lives of those with epilepsy. Every study marks a step forward, and every collaboration strengthens our efforts against this devastating condition. The launch of the Epilepsy Research Institute is a watershed for our disease area.”
Maxine Smeaton, Chief Executive, said, “We know that research will only flourish with sufficient investment and the right infrastructure. The Epilepsy Research Institute will provide the research community with the leadership, resources and support needed to radically advance research into epilepsy."
Professor Juan Burrone, Professor of Developmental Neurophysiology at the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, is the Basic Science co-lead for the institute's Neurodevelopment theme. The theme's research priorities are to:
- Identify mechanisms (processes and interactions) by which the brain becomes susceptible to seizures at different life stages (childhood/adolescence/adult/older age)
- Harness recent advances in genomics, mechanistic studies, imaging and clinical studies
- Identify how and by what mechanisms epilepsy and its treatment impact learning, cognitive development and ability during childhood
- Identify how and by what mechanisms epilepsy and its treatment impact cognitive ability in adult life
- Identify how and by what mechanisms epilepsy and its treatment impact mental health in children and adults.
Other themes include Disease Modification & therapeutics, Mortality, Morbidity & risk, Reproduction & hormones, Capacity Building, and Enabling Technologies.
I am delighted to be a part of this important new initiative. The creation of the Epilepsy Research Institute UK is a unique opportunity to foster research into this devastating condition and help uncover novel treatments for people with epilepsy. I see the inauguration of this Institute as a turning point in our efforts to better understand the disease and find new cures."Professor Juan Burrone, Professor of Developmental Neurophysiology
Vision: A life free from epilepsy
Mission: To radically advance research into epilepsy
- Convene, connect and capacity-build the epilepsy research ecosystem
- Drive strategic investment in epilepsy research
- Fund research into epilepsy and associated conditions
- Develop research partnerships and collaborations
- Advocate and action the research priorities of people affected by epilepsy.