Harper welcomes EU funded cross-border project to combat lung disease

SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Emma Harper today (Friday) welcomed the news that €7.7 million will be invested in a project including the Dundalk Institute of Technology in the Republic of Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of the West of Scotland. 
This EU funded project, which is known as ‘BREATH’ (Border and Regions Airways Training Hub, will establish a world-class cluster of researchers who will help address the causes, treatment and potential prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is an incurable respiratory condition characterised by progressive airflow reduction, breathing difficulties and irreversible lung damage. COPD significantly impairs and limits patients’ quality of life and longevity as well as having a high cost to health services and the wider economy. 
COPD-related hospital admission is particularly prevalent across Scotland and Ireland. In Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway COPD-related hospital admission is amongst the highest in the UK.
Welcoming the announcement Emma said:
“This is great news for UWS and of great relevance to this region since hospital admission rates for patients with COPD are amongst the highest of anywhere in Britain.
“This research aims to identify better treatments for a very serious, debilitating and life-limiting condition and may also identify potential ways of preventing COPD from developing in the first place.
“This sort of EU-funded cross-border collaboration brings together leading experts to focus on the condition and is exactly the sort of work we need to be able to carry on doing with our European neighbours, because the benefits it can have for patients in Scotland and across Britain could be very significant indeed.”
The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA which are designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. 
The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.
The INTERREG VA Programme has a value of €283 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders.
For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu
For further information contact:
Niall Gordon (Senior Marketing Co-ordinator – PR) 
Marketing & Communications, University of the West of Scotland 
0141 848 3726 / 07764 285 882