The University of Manchester, Boots and No7 Beauty Company secure multi-million-pound funding for inclusive dermatology research programme

The University of Manchester (UoM), Boots and No7 Beauty Company have secured Prosperity Partnerships funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to support research advancing understanding of skin health and ensuring inclusivity for all.

The multi-million-pound research partnership, known as Project Spectrum, seeks to redress a historical imbalance in the existing body of skin research, which previously focused on lighter skin tones, with darker skin tones underrepresented or overlooked completely. The ambitious research project will explore how skin structure, function and response to sunlight is influenced by melanin, the pigment determining skin colour, with the goal of delivering effective skincare solutions that are fit for purpose and address the needs of all people, setting a new standard for inclusivity.

Project Spectrum builds on an existing, highly successful, 15-year research collaboration between No7 Beauty Company, Boots and UoM that has made significant advances in the science of skin structural remodelling linked to environmental and age-related damage.  The partnership has produced over 100 scientific publications and enabled new skincare solutions for skin health and ageing to reach UK consumers. The Prosperity Partnerships funding represents an exciting evolution of this collaboration, uniting national and international experts in skin biology, photobiology, and skin gerontology.

Dr Abigail Langton, Lecturer in Ethnic Skin and Principal Investigator on Project Spectrum, is enthusiastic about the initiative: “The UoM’s Centre for Dermatology Research boasts an outstanding track record in fundamental skin research. Our longstanding partnership with Boots and No7 Beauty Company has allowed us to not only delve into the intricacies of skin science but also deliver tangible benefits to consumers through clinical translational research."

She adds, “Through Project Spectrum, we aim to break new ground in the exploration of skin, building both capacity and capability in skin research and fostering a more holistic and inclusive approach to dermatological research”.

Dr Mike Bell, Head of Science Research at Boots and No7 Beauty Company said: “We are very grateful to UKRI and the BBSRC for supporting this exciting research programme. With our world leading scientific partners at The University of Manchester we will develop a much better understanding of the similarities and differences in skin across the pigmentary spectrum allowing for more inclusive product design, and ultimately more effective solutions for everyone.”

This collaborative effort is poised to redefine the future of skin health research, pushing boundaries, and paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable approach to skin care.

The University of Manchester was also successful in securing Prosperity Partnerships funding with Shell Research Limited and is co-leading a third with University College London.



The University of Manchester is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and one of the UK’s largest single-site universities. We have over 40,000 students, 12,000 staff and, with 500,000 former students from more than 190 countries, are home to the largest alumni community of any campus-based university in the UK. We are ranked in the top ten of the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings globally; are the top UK University for graduate employability according to The Graduate Market in 2022 and no fewer than 25 Nobel laureates have either worked or studied here. Manchester was also named 5th place for research power - the quality and scale of research and impact - in the UK government’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

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No7 Beauty Company, part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, is a dynamic consumer-led beauty business launched in April 2021 which holds iconic international beauty brands. For 88 years, since No7 launched in 1935, its ambition has been to support and empower people across the world through premium but affordable skincare. Alongside No7, the Company is home to Liz Earle Beauty Co., Soap & Glory, Botanics and Sleek MakeUP. Some of its hero products include Liz Earle’s multi-award-winning Cleanse and Polish™, No7 Protect & Perfect, and No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate.


Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores. Boots serves its customers and patients’ wellbeing for life. It is the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. Boots has an unrivalled depth and breadth of product offering, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP. For over 170 years, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day. Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail. More company information is available on


BBSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond. Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.