Support Us


A Personal Appeal from Professor Jim Flett Wilson

How you can help us continue our life-saving research into the genetics of Scotland’s island communities by making a donation or fundraising to support our work and your community.


Viking Genes has been funded by a number of research grants over the last 20 years, most recently by the Wellcome Trust. Their funding allowed us to return actionable findings to participants. This has directly impacted a number of islander families and people’s lives by enabling them to take quick preventable action against breast and ovarian cancer risks. I am very humble and proud that our team’s research has helped in this way, and we desperately want to do more work like this.

The Viking Genes dataset is rich with information, and with your help and support we will be able to continue to analyse the data and make findings relevant to all Scottish island populations about many life-threatening diseases. Next, we are targeting:

Jim in the Scottish isles
target diseases

It is unfortunate that this type of work to improve population health is typically NOT funded by academic research grants, and we are asking for your community’s help and support in order to continue our work.

As we have demonstrated with our work so far on the BRCA2 breast and ovarian cancer variant in Shetland and the BRCA1 variant in Orkney, as well as Long QT Syndrome, once we analyse the data, it has a huge impact. We can enable people to take action, help raise awareness in the community, and also work to influence public health policies across Scotland and the UK, such as access to genetic screening programmes for Scottish Islanders and their descendants.

We are seeking funding from you, to support the small team of researchers and part-time support staff that I have and who have done great work on this project with a limited budget.

Any donations or funding will be used to enable analysis of the Viking Genes data, and then prepare our materials to communicate our findings to the different audiences that include;

  • Academic genetic researchers – which give our findings credence and value
  • Public health audiences (NHS, politicians etc) – who can influence or change policy
  • Charities and Community Trusts – who can help support genetic screening

And most importantly

  • Our island communities – who can take action to improve their health and wellbeing with the knowledge and information we provide

For clarity, none of the donations would support me, or my direct employment costs, as I’m entirely funded as an employee of the University of Edinburgh, but they would be used as described above, and for things like the costs of community engagement talks across the islands. 

Our work can be foundational in improving the health of all our island populations, whilst directly benefitting families by returning findings to them.

Do please consider supporting our work to improve the health and well-being of island populations. Every penny will help, and we’ve shown already our work can save the lives of islanders. Our project will receive 100% of all donations made, so please - click on the donate link below provided by the University of Edinburgh.

Thank you so much for your support. Together we can make a difference.

Jim Flett Wilson

Professor of Human Genetics & Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh


Donate in memory

Donating to the Viking Genes Fund is a wonderful way to remember and celebrate the life of your loved one in a positive and meaningful way in the isles that were so close to their heart.

Would you like to partner with us to raise funds for Viking Genes?

We are looking for other supporter partners across Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides to help raise funds for Viking Genes through community support and events. 

If you can help, let’s get talking, we are grateful for all the community help. If you are not in our study but would like to receive a copy of our newsletter, please get in touch too. Email