In 1991 a group of prominent Southampton businessmen urged a group of scientists working for the University of Southampton to launch a charity to support some of the excellent work in the field of asthma and allergy that was being produced by the research group who were located at Southampton General Hospital.
This group led by Professor Stephen Holgate (CBE) have since then become arguably one of the world’s leading centres of excellence in the field of asthma, allergy and all related conditions of the respiratory system. This has recently resulted in recognition as The World Centre of Excellence in Allergic Disease. The award will run for 3 years.
The group now have considered experts in all aspects of respiratory medicine and with both national and international recognition, the Southampton Group have become the group for young scientist from most countries in the world, to work with. We currently have at any time some 20 nationalities working as students or research personnel.
The current chairperson is Professor Donna Davies who co-ordinates the decision making of a group of some 12 Trustees. This group is made up of scientists and external professional lay persons with a mix of sex and ethnicity.
Funding for this activity comes from every source imaginable from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Medical Research Council (MRC), to the League of Friends at Southampton General Hospital and of course AAIR.
The Asthma, Allergy and Inflammation Research Trust (AAIR) works with these scientists allowing them to purchase pieces of vital equipment, to fund studentships and to support programmes of work with consumable cost. In the past 23 years AAIR has contributed some £6M to assist with developing new drugs, to improve treatment and to further understand the mechanisms that present patients with the debilitating effects of asthma and allergic disease.
The success of the Southampton Research group has resulted in a state of the art rebuild of a Bio-medical Research Unit (BRU) which combined with the Welcome Clinical Research Facility provides Southampton arguably with the largest most successful clinical research unit of its type in the UK.