UK government commits £250m to world-leading laboratory

25 March 2010

UCL today celebrated the government’s commitment of funding to the Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), the planned state-of-the-art biomedical research institute in central London of which UCL is a partner.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown

£250 million funding will be passed to the Medical Research Council by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills following a successful bid for investment into the project.

UKCMRI is a partnership of four of the world’s most influential and respected scientific research organisations: UCL, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust. Its aim is to discover and develop a new understanding of and treatments for the illnesses which affect all families, such as cancers, heart disease and stroke, flu and other infections.

UKCMRI will be constructed on 3.6 acres of land, to the north of the British Library in the St Pancras and Somers Town area of north London.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said: “It’s crucial that the importance of investment in medical research is widely recognised, even in today’s choppy economic waters. This commitment will reap huge economic rewards for the UK’s future. We know, for example, that for every £1 invested in cardiovascular disease research alone, around 39p is generated for the economy, every year, forever.

“Answering the big questions about how to tackle diseases like cancer, flu and malaria, and exploiting the promise of regenerative medicine, needs bold science. The MRC investment in UKCMRI will help to maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of global biomedical research, attracting the brightest scientific minds to these world class facilities. Many of the cures, vaccines and drugs of the future will be born inside the walls of UKCMRI. In years to come, I’m sure we’ll see this as a landmark investment.”

“UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant said: “UCL is proud to be the founding university partner in UKCMRI and we look forward to making a powerful and innovative contribution to the work generated within this ambitious facility. Investment in UKCMRI is an investment in the future of UK science and will build on the remarkable history of scientific and medical endeavour in this country, ensuring our future competitiveness and contribution worldwide.”

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “This unparalleled collaboration between four globally recognised research institutions will help secure Britain’s status as a world-leading destination for medical research. It will work to deliver the life-saving treatments of tomorrow and translate research discoveries into competitive advantages for the UK economy. UKCMRI will inspire a new generation of scientists and as we set out in the budget is proof of this government’s commitment to invest in the sectors and jobs that we need for the future.”

Image: Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirms the government's commitment to UKCMRI


UCL context

As an international centre of excellence in biomedicine, UCL collaborates with many other universities, hospitals, biomedical research charities and research centres.

UCL has wide-ranging and long-standing relationships with all of the partners in UKCMRI. As well as the sponsorship of individual researchers and research studies, all three of UCL’s partners co-run centres at UCL, including the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and the Cancer Research UK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre.

UCL is also a founding partner of Europe’s largest academic health science centre. UCL Partners, designated one of the UK’s first academic health science centres in March 2009 by the Department of Health, comprises five of London’s biggest and best known hospitals and research centres: UCL, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). Together they will conduct cutting-edge research into infectious diseases; neurological disorders; eyes and vision; child health; women’s health; and immunology and transplantation.

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