Funding Environmental &
Occupational Health Research

The Colt Foundation

The Colt Foundation funds high quality research projects in the field of occupational and environmental health, particularly those aimed at discovering the cause of illnesses arising from conditions at the place of work. 

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Public Benefit

The Trustees are particularly keen to support work which is likely to make a difference to legislation, public policy or working practices, and thereby improve the health of workers or the wider population. They have funded research in many areas of occupational and environmental health, the impacts of which can often be greatest for those who are most disadvantaged socio-economically.

A significant sum has been invested in research on the toxic effects of fine and ultrafine particles and fibres, including lung and cardiovascular disease, adding to the knowledge base over a long period, and helping to inform both preventive policies in the workplace and controls on outdoor air pollution. Other major areas of investment have included the inter-relationship of musculoskeletal health and work, occupational asthma, and mental health in the workplace.

Activities

The Foundation pursues its aims through three main activities:

Project Grants

Funding of high-quality research in the field of occupational and environmental health through project grants.

Supporting Students

Supporting students to undertake higher degrees at UK universities in subjects related to occupational and environmental health.

Scientific Conferences

Organising and financially supporting scientific conferences that focus on aspects of occupational and environmental health research.

Supportive Funding

Funding collaborative and innovative infrastructure to support the advancement of work and health research.

Colt Foundation Timeline

1978
1979
1981
1988
1989
1990
1992
1993
1995
1996
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023

1978

Colt Foundation is set up by Deed of Charitable Settlement.

1979

First grant awarded, for £15,500 to the Back Pain Association.

1981

Dr David Denison is appointed the first Scientific Adviser, leading to our long-term association with the Royal Brompton Hospital/National Heart and Lung Institute and our interest in respiratory medicine.

1988

Green College Conference, convened by Professor Sir Richard Doll and supported by the Colt Foundation, leading to the formation of the British Occupational Health Research Foundation, and a general revival of interest in occupational health research.

1989

Long term support committed to Dr Anthony Seaton at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh – £100,000 p.a. for five years. This is the start of a long association with Dr Seaton, and also with Dr Ken Donaldson.

Grant awarded to Jonathan Gale at the University of Bristol for research into hearing, leading to a PhD and subsequent postdoctoral research. The start of a long association with the Hearing Research Trust (now Defeating Deafness).

1990

The start of the Colt Foundation PhD Fellowships.

The Colt Group undertakes a capital reconstruction, resulting in a reduction of the Colt Foundation’s holding of Ordinary Shares, and acquisition of Redeemable Preference shares, redemption of which provided £4,150,000 for investment in marketable securities in 1996.

1992

Long term funding awarded to Kings College London to support students on an MSc course in human and applied physiology.

Agreement with Professor Malcolm Harrington to support the Institute of Occupational Health in Birmingham.

1993

Long term support of the National Heart & Lung Institute at the Royal Brompton Hospital is agreed with Professor Anthony Newman Taylor for a study based in Ashford, Kent, into “Why asthma is becoming more common”.

1995

First grant to Napier University for research on the molecular toxicology of particle-related lung disease. This leads to the formation of ELEGI (Edinburgh Lung and the Environment Group Initiative) in 1997, and a Foundation grant of £150,000 towards the cost of refurbishing a laboratory to accommodate ELEGI, known as the ELEGI/Colt laboratories.

Tim Ault (son of Mary Ault), Clare Gilchrist (daughter of Alan O’Hea) and Peter O’Hea (son of Jerome O’Hea) appointed Trustees.

1996

Professor David Coggon agrees to become a Scientific Adviser to the Foundation.

1998

Professor Sir Richard Doll formally opens the ELEGI/Colt laboratories in Edinburgh.

1999

Colt Foundation Day is held at the Royal College of Physicians in London, at which all major project grant holders, and all Foundation-supported students give presentations of their work to an audience which includes all the major stakeholders in the world of occupational health research in the UK. The Wellcome Trust provides an assessor.

2000

Jerome O’Hea retires as Chairman of the Trustees, but remains a member of the Board of Trustees.
Patricia Lebus is appointed Chairman.

2001

Retirement of Mary Ault, one of the founder Trustees.
Juliette O’Hea (daughter of Jerome O’Hea) and Natasha Lebus (daughter of Patricia Lebus) appointed Trustees.
Professor David Coggon agrees to serve as a Trustee of the Foundation, and Professor Anthony Newman Taylor agrees to become a Scientific Adviser.

2002

A grant of £308,000 is awarded to Professor Raymond Agius with a view to creating a centre of excellence in occupational health research at the University of Manchester.

A five year Colt Professorial Fellowship is awarded to Professor Ken Donaldson to enable him to remain as co-Director of ELEGI at the University of Edinburgh.

2004

A grant of £139,068 is awarded to Professor Jon Ayres at the University of Aberdeen for work entitled “Occupational and environmental exposures and health: linking human exposure methodology, mechanisms and epidemiology”.

2005

Professor Anthony Newman Taylor agrees to serve as a Trustee of the Foundation.
Professor Ken Donaldson agrees to become a Scientific Adviser to the Foundation.
Patricia Lebus retires as Chairman of the Trustees, but remains a member of the Board of Trustees.
Walter Morison is appointed Chairman.

2006

A further ten-year Colt Professorial Fellowship is awarded to Professor Ken Donaldson to enable him to remain as co-Director of ELEGI at the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Sir Richard Doll dies in July.

A second Colt Foundation Day is held at the Royal College of Physicians in London. All major project grant holders give presentations of their work, and all the major players in the world of occupational health research are invited to attend, as well as all students currently supported by the Foundation.
A grant of £202,595 is awarded to Dr Paul Cullinan at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College for work entitled “Does FEV1 predict capacity to work in an ageing population?”

2007

Retirement of Tim Ault as a Trustee. The Board of Trustees is very grateful for his contribution over a long period of time.

A grant of £107,452 is awarded to the University of Aberdeen for work entitled “Workplace health surveillance for occupational skin diseases – diagnostic accuracy and reliability of a teledermatology tool”. The work is led by Dr Finlay Dick, with Dr Markus Steiner, Dr Sean Semple, Professor Jon Ayres, and Dr Anthony Ormerod.

2008

Walter Morison retires as Chairman of the Trustees, but agrees to remain as a Trustee. Professor Anthony Newman Taylor is appointed Chairman. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced on 14th June 2008, Professor Newman Taylor is awarded a Knighthood.

Professor David Coggon becomes President of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

2009

Walter Morison dies in March after a short illness. Walter enjoyed a full and varied life, and his association with Colt Group, the O’Hea family and the Colt Foundation lasted more than 60 years. He will be sadly missed by Trustees and grant holders.
The Trustees are delighted that Mr Royston Fox, of Royston Fox Associates agrees to become Financial Adviser to the Foundation, and to provide advice on our investment portfolio with suggestions for a new strategy for management of the portfolio in the future.

EPICOH, the international conference on occupational epidemiology is being held in the UK for the first time in 2011, and the Trustees agree to underwrite costs so that the planning process can begin.
It is agreed that the Foundation will offer £10,000 to provide bursaries to enable students to attend the 3rd Nanotoxicology Conference 2010 to be held at Edinburgh Napier University, and also a certificate to be awarded to the student with the best poster or presentation in human toxicology.

2010

It is agreed to continue long-term support for the MSc in Human & Applied Physiology course at King’s College London for a further three years.

In December 2010, Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, Chairman of the Trustees, is appointed Principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College.

Following an extensive review of the investment strategy with our Financial Adviser, Cheviot Asset Management are appointed as investment managers to the Foundation to handle all our listed investments.

2011

Having reviewed the level of our support for PhD students, it is agreed that the stipend element of the Fellowships will rise with immediate effect to £14,000 in the first year for students outside London, and to £16,000 in the first year for students in London.

Juliette O’Hea retires as a Trustee, having joined the Board in 2001. The Trustees are very grateful for her commitment over such a long period of time.

2012

The Trustees are delighted that three new Scientific Advisers agree to join the Foundation, and they are formally welcomed to their first meeting on 4 December 2012. Dr Alex Jones from Manchester is a former Foundation PhD student, and currently holds a grant from the Foundation. Dr Ira Madan is a Consultant occupational physician and Professor Sara Rankin is Professor of Leukocyte and Stem Cell Biology at Imperial College London.

The third Colt Foundation Day is held in October at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, at which all the project leaders who have received substantial financial support from the Foundation in recent years are invited to give presentations on their work and its impact.

2013

An application for continued funding for the MSc in Human & Applied Physiology course at King’s College London is received from Professor Stephen Harridge, the Programme Director. It is agreed that this is an excellent course and the Trustees offer continued support for the next three years at the rate of £20,000 per year.

2014

Professor David Denison dies in February, having been unwell for some time. David has been involved with the Colt Foundation since 1981, when he was appointed the first Scientific Adviser to the Trustees. His support and advice have been invaluable over many years, and the Trustees and all those involved with the Foundation will miss him greatly.

2015

The Foundation holds a meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine on Monday 20th April to celebrate the life and achievements of Professor David Denison, which is attended by 130 of David’s family, friends and professional colleagues.

2016

Cheviot Asset Management, now Quilter Cheviot, has been handling the Colt Foundation’s listed investments since 2010, and at a review of the initial mandate, it is unanimously agreed to re-appoint them for a further five year period.

The MSc course in Human & Applied Physiology at King’s College London has been supported for many years, and the Trustees agree funding for a further three-year period.

2017

Having been based in Havant since 1978, the Foundation moves to a modern office complex in nearby Waterlooville in early 2017. The new address is 12 The Briars, Waterberry Drive, Waterlooville, Hampshire PO7 7YH.
Dr Ira Madan has been associated with the Foundation for a number of years, and was appointed as a Scientific Adviser in 2012. The Trustees are delighted to report that Ira has agreed to serve as a Trustee with effect from July 2017.

Pam Sonnenberg is promoted to Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at UCL. Pam was funded by the Colt Foundation for her PhD in 2001.

2018

In October 2018, the Foundation organises a one-day scientific meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine to celebrate its 40th anniversary. An audience of approximately 80 participants hears and discusses presentations on diverse topics from nine senior scientists who have been supported by the Foundation.

Dr Rodger Duffin joins the Colt Foundation as a Scientific Adviser.

2019

Tash Heydon is appointed Director of the Colt Foundation having resigned as a trustee. The Foundation offices move to The Old Bank House, Market Square, Petworth, W. Sussex GU28 0AH

Jackie Douglas, who had been Director of the Colt Foundation for more than 20 years, dies in June, after a short but valiant battle against cancer. Jackie’s untimely passing is a great loss to the occupational health research community, and particularly to the Colt Foundation.

Sarah Rankin resigns from her position as a Scientific Adviser to the Foundation because of an increase in other commitments. The Trustees and other advisers will miss her valuable input, and thank her for work on behalf of the Foundation.

2020

The Colt Foundation moves into its new offices at Unit E, The Old Bakery, Golden Square, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 0AP

Alan O’Hea and Jerome O’Hea retire, they were both founding trustees of the charity in 1978

2021

Peter O’Hea retires as a trustee after more than 25 years service to the Colt Foundation.  Dr Alex Jones and Mrs Christina Fitzsimons join the Board of Trustees.  Alex was supported through his PhD by the Colt Foundation and has served as a scientific adviser since 2012.  Christina is the granddaughter of IJ O’Hea who founded the Colt Foundation with his four children in 1978. Dr Elaine Wainwright joins the Colt Foundation as a Scientific Adviser.

On 1st January the Colt Foundation became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation

 

2022

Student Impact Day – a meeting to commemorate the contribution of Jackie Douglas to the Colt Foundation at the Royal Society of Medicine

The Colt Foundation partners with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to annually co-fund Advanced Fellowships in health and work research

2023

Mrs Christina Fitzsimons becomes the Foundation’s first Treasurer

Enquiries

Enquiries about the Foundation and its work should be addressed to the Director at:

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