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Bristol to receive £1 million gift to launch the next generation of researchers

Press release issued: 27 June 2017

The next generation of researchers and innovators at the University are set to benefit from a £1 million gift from University of Bristol alumnus Dr Jonathan de Pass and Georgina, his wife.

This incredibly generous gift from Jonathan and Georgina is the largest single donation the University has received to date from an individual during their lifetime. Their gift will help to support medical research projects, and the University’s new Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Jonathan graduated from Bristol in 1979 with a degree in Medicine before beginning training as a junior doctor. Within a few years his career took a change of direction when he moved into the finance sector where his focus was on the pharmaceutical and life science industry. He went on to found the Evaluate Group in 1996, the market intelligence leader in the life sciences industry, of which he is currently chairman.

“The University was the springboard to a varied career that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I’m extremely grateful for what it gave me and I draw on my experiences from Bristol all the time.

“Now feels like the right time in my career to give something back, and the University feels like the perfect place. The solutions to many of the world’s problems are rooted in high quality academic research in which Bristol, as a leading institution, has a distinguished record.

“I trained here, it’s local to where I live, and the University has such a positive impact on the city and wider region.”

The £1 million gift will be split between various medical research projects and supporting the University’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

One area of research due to benefit is the University’s ongoing work into Parkinson’s disease. Jonathan said: “My father died of Parkinson’s so I know about its devastating impact. But this is just one area I am keen to support – there is such a huge diversity of research activity and talent here at Bristol.”

Professor John Iredale, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health at the University of Bristol, said: “Jonathan and Georgina’s marvellous gift will benefit our research and students, by helping to build research capacity in the key areas of neuroscience including Parkinson’s disease, population health science, to identify and target new treatments for common diseases and cardiovascular disease.”

Dr Kirsten Cater, Academic Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said: “Jonathan and Georgina's gift allows us to enhance the opportunities that we are able to offer our students, to inspire and encourage them to think new thoughts, to become the innovators of tomorrow with the creativity, resilience, entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary thinking that our 21st Century society and economy cries out for."

Stephen O’Connor, Director of Development and Alumni Relations says that Jonathan was keen to give now rather than leave his gift as a legacy. Jonathan explained: “George and I wanted to give this gift now whilst we can still play an active role in the research and innovation it will fund. We feel it will be so much more rewarding to see its benefits first hand both in terms of the research and the development of the next generation of researchers.” 

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