09 Dec 2009   |   Network update from University College London
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UCL: plans for £600M medical research centre unveiled


The plans for the £600 million UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovations (UKCMRI), to be built in central London, were unveiled last week as the first details of its proposed scientific vision and research strategy were published.

The Centre is being built in a partnership between University College London, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust. Its aim is to discover and develop new understanding of, and treatments for, common diseases including cancers, heart disease, stroke, flu and other infections. Once complete the Centre is expected to house 1,500 researchers.

Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Chairman of Scientific Planning for the Centre, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and President of Rockefeller University in New York, said, “We are one step closer to setting up this important research centre. UKCMRI will be the most exciting project for UK biomedical research in the next 50 years. London has been a global centre for leading medical research for four centuries. UKCMRI will draw on that tradition.”

The planning application for UKCMRI will be submitted in Spring 2010, following a consultation period with the community and stakeholders. Work is scheduled to begin on the site in early 2011, for completion in late 2014 or early 2015.

UKCMRI has also released the first details of its proposed scientific vision in which it plans to use inter-disciplinary and innovative approaches to reveal the basic biology underlying human health and disease. This strategy explains what is required for UKCMRI to achieve four key goals:

  • Research excellence: Effective multi-disciplinary working requires the substantial critical mass possible at UKCMRI

  • Training and developing future scientific leaders: The unique environment provided by UKCMRI provides an outstanding opportunity to develop a new approach to biomedical scientific training

  • Supporting biomedical research: UKCMRI will act as a catalyst to promote better networking and collaboration, supporting biomedical research throughout the UK

  • Fostering Innovation and Translation: UKCMRI will set a high priority on ensuring that its scientific advances will be speedily exploited for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

John Cooper, interim CEO of UKCMRI, said, “Four of the world’s most influential science organisations have joined forces. UKCMRI will pursue vital, ground-breaking research and work with the best scientists to make important discoveries about human disease and health.”

Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research UK, said, “We truly believe being part of UKCMRI will help accelerate our goal to beat cancer. UKCMRI will be one of the most important medical research projects anywhere in the world over the next 20 years.

Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost, said, “Every organisation involved in UKCMRI is a world leader in its field, driven by the aspiration to make advances in medical research that improve and save lives. UKCMRI continues the fantastic history of scientific endeavour in London. Our individual contributions to medical advancement have all been significant. Working together, the contribution made by UKCMRI will be formidable.”

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