The type 1 diabetes charity JDRF has appointed Peter Jones, managing director of international energy company Taqa in Europe, as chairman of its development group in Scotland.

Peter, who lives with the condition himself, joins JDRF to spearhead a £750,000 fundraising campaign to support research carried out in Scotland and brings with him a vision to see Scotland play a far greater role in the development of a cure.

Scotland has one of the highest incidences of type 1diabetes in the world. Over 28,500 people in Scotland live with the condition and incidence is increasing by around four per cent each year, particularly in children under five. Dedicated to research into type 1, JDRF is already funding £3.9m worth of projects in Scotland, and Peter wants to see more of Scotland’s research community taking up the challenge of accelerating the pace of research and helping JDRF find the cure.

On taking up the voluntary position in the JDRF Scottish headquarters in Aberdeen, he said:

“I was drawn to JDRF as a charity because of its laser focus on type 1 diabetes, improving the lives of people living with it, and finding the cure. With every new project they are another step closer. For those like me living with the condition, or those with type 1 in their families, it is a tremendously uplifting prospect and I am delighted to now be closely involved in that evolving success story.

“In taking on this role I want to inspire others with the prospect of finding a cure. With the third highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in Europe, Scotland has a worryingly high level of people with the condition, but we also have one of the leading life sciences and media research communities in the world. I believe Scotland is perfectly placed to drive new research and play a major role in the development of a cure.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. Those with type 1 cannot produce the insulin that regulates their blood glucose levels because their immune system, for reasons not yet fully understood, attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. There is no known cure, but researchers believe that finding a cure for type 1 will also offer new treatments for those with type 2 diabetes.

JDRF is the world’s leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research and is currently sponsoring work at the University of Glasgow and the University of Dundee that focuses on the treatment of type 1 diabetes and its associated complications.

Peter added:

“We are determined to raise the funds to continue to support important research projects in Scotland, but I want to go further. We are about to set out on a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of JDRF research and how and why Scotland’s medical and academic community, the politicians and families affected should support a cause that could make Scotland a world leader in type 1 research.”