Academics at a leading Lancashire university have scooped two major awards worth a more than £1m to fund research into child development.
The Leverhulme Trust is giving two separate grants of £1m and £335,000 for projects being carried out at Lancaster University, renowned for it’s BabyLab studies.
The university’s psychology department is home to what is believed to be the largest group of infancy researchers in the UK.
The team is currently working on a pioneering project aimed at uncovering the processes of early development and the link between developmental changes in the infants’ brains and their cognitive abilities.
The £1m award is for a Doctoral Scholarship Programme over five years to train 15 PhD students in interdisciplinary research on infant development.
Studentships will cover full fees and living costs for UK and EU students, and the university is funding the enhanced fees for one overseas studentship a year.
The students will also be able to draw on expertise from other departments.
The university is also going to be supporting the scholarship programme with seven additional studentships as well as full-time administrative support for the Lancaster Babylab and funding an annual research conference.
The other grant from the Leverhulme Trust will support a £335,000 individual research project on multisensory processing in babies under six months old.
The project will be led by Professor Gavin Bremner.
He said: “This research will lead to important new knowledge by extending existing work into the multi-sensory domain.”
He added: “We now know a good deal about how babies perceive the world around them, but one limitation in our knowledge is that much of the research concentrates on single senses, in particular vision or hearing. ”