UCL to benefit from £8.9m medical bioinformatics grant

6 February 2014

The Minister for Science and Universities, the Rt Hon David Willetts, announced today that the Medical Research Council (MRC) has made an investment of £8.9 million to a consortium of institutions, comprising UCL, Queen Mary University of London, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Quad UCLH (square)

The grant was given for Medical Bioinformatics: Data-Driven Discovery for Personalised Medicine. The funding will be used to create ‘eMedLab’, a shared offsite datacenter.

This high performance computing cluster will allow scientists to analyse human genome data and medical images, together with clinical and other physiological and social data, for the benefit of human health.

The collaborative resource will be shared by UCL, Queen Mary University London, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Francis Crick Institute, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

The funding will also support the recruitment of four career development fellows or junior group leaders to form a Research Academy. There are close links to the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research at UCL Partners and Genomics England, the organisation which will deliver the Department of Health’s 100K Genome Project.

In bringing together a number of world-leading biomedical research institutions this award will accelerate the translation of genomic advances into clinical practice.

Sir John Tooke, UCL Vice-Provost (Health)

Overall, the MRC announced today that it is investing a total of £32 million across five major, strategic medical bioinformatics projects. It is the latest instalment of a £90 million funding initiative to tackle ‘big data’ challenges for the advancement of medical research.

UCL is a founding partner of The Francis Crick Institute, an entirely new institute with a distinctive vision of how medical research should be conducted. Due to open in 2015 next to St Pancras station and the British Library, it will play a key role in creating the foundation of knowledge on which this century’s improvements in health will be based.  

Professor Sir John Tooke, UCL Vice-Provost (Health), said: “In bringing together a number of world-leading biomedical research institutions this award will accelerate the translation of genomic advances into clinical practice.

"Bioinformaticians, imaging informatics experts and clinicians will all work together to integrate health records and research outputs in cancer, cardiovascular and rare diseases. We are delighted that the MRC has chosen to support the partnership to deliver this ambitious vision."

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