GambleAware, the independent grant-making charity is awarding £4m ($5.52m) to establish the first single academic institution, the Academic Research Hub, in Great Britain.
This comes as part of its goals and commitment to building diversity in research capability around the harms of gambling.
The investment takes place in the form of an eight-month grant award process, focusing on bringing new disciplines into the gambling harms research field, all the while building evidence and raising Britain's international profile.
The aims for the Academic Research Hub are to significantly challenge the research surrounding gambling to a larger scale, not only in the UK, but worldwide. GambleAware’s visions of creating a safer society, one that is shielded from the impact of irresponsible gambling, will be delivered through the charity’s strategic academic research objectives. Alternate funding will allow for continued growth, ensuring longevity and development beyond the initial grant award of £4m.
Within Great Britain, currently most gambling research is delivered by a small number of academics and from a social science perspective. However, given the new Hub and its main prerogative, a broadened range of disciplines and academics fused with ample gambling harms research will be undertaken.
A small number of universities were invited to apply for the grant. The decision as to who would receive it was chosen by multiple rankings and those rated highly in the areas of research relevant to gambling behaviours and harms prevention. Although the initial approach was to award the grant to one university only, the successful institution will collaborate in a multi-disciplinary approach both with its own self but also alongside external parties, including other academics and partners, especially focusing on the international aspect of these contributors.
Alison Clare, Research Director at GambleAware, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a British university to develop and innovate in a relatively under-researched field, bringing to bear a much wider range of academic disciplines than are currently engaged in gambling harms research. With this significant investment, a British university and its partners will have the chance to create a step-change in building knowledge in an area which links and overlaps with many other subjects and fields.
“It’s a different type of grant award to the smaller projects and programmes in our current research portfolio, with GambleAware taking a much more arm’s length approach in guiding the area of research focus. Our main criteria is that universities apply a multi-disciplinary, public health lens in setting out the rationale for their chosen research area. From our early discussions with selected universities, we’re expecting some very creative and innovative proposals at the initial expression of interest stage.”