ION-DRI Programme


Our vision

We are building a world-class research and treatment environment to fight neurological diseases, which are now the world’s leading cause of disability.

By bringing research scientists, clinicians and patients under one roof, and improving services across the whole of the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, the IoN-DRI programme will boost UCL’s ability to tackle one of our most urgent global health challenges.

The new building will provide a technologically advanced research environment, offering shared facilities, flexible space and major new investment into core technologies, equipment and central services.

The accompanying transformation provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create sustainable models that will support our research and clinical activities for generations to come.

By equipping the next generation of scientists and clinicians with the capability and technology they need to develop cures and treatments for neurological diseases, we hope to make diseases like dementia a thing of the past.

We are looking to the future. This is an exciting time not just for UCL, but for the neuroscience community worldwide.

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International benefits: Revolutionising 21st century healthcare

The IoN-DRI programme will transform UCL’s ability to tackle the devastating global health challenge of neurological diseases.

UCL is one of the world's largest, most productive and highest-impact neuroscience centres, with more than 500 principal investigators leading a research community of more than 2000 neuroscientists. 

By bringing research scientists, clinicians and patients under one roof, we can dramatically improve patient treatments in the fight against neurological disease. Cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities will enable UCL’s world-leading scientists to develop and test new research, paving the way for breakthrough cures. 

Through pushing the boundaries of current research and clinical practice, we aim to transform the lives of future generations.

National benefits: Tackling neurological diseases through collaboration

Scientists in a lab

There are currently no effective therapeutics for any of the neurodegenerative conditions that give rise to diseases like dementia, which is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales. The cost of neurological disease to the UK economy is estimated at £112 billion each year.

Collaboration is at the heart of the IoN-DRI programme and will improve opportunities for new breakthroughs in tackling neurological diseases. To support this world-class centre we are building for neurological research and treatment, we have partnered with charities like Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, alongside government, the Medical Research Council and the NHS. The new facility will also house the operational headquarters of the UK Dementia Research Institute (UKDRI), which was established as part of the government's Challenge on Dementia 2020.

By strengthening the Queen Square Institute of Neurology's collaborations with its clinical partners across UCL, its partnership with the UK’s leading neurology hospital and the national network of the UK DRI centres, the facility will bring together world-leading expertise and offer unrivalled opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Our goal is to create the most comprehensive, coordinated neuroscience research hub in the world. By working together, we hope to conquer neurological diseases once and for all.

Local benefits


A world-class research and out-patient facility for neurological disease will not only be of global significance, but local value too.

As part of our commitment to supporting the local community, we are developing plans for an extensive programme of public engagement, including:

  • A public art programme
  • Ongoing events, exhibitions and performances
  • Apprenticeships
  • Work experience placements and mentoring schemes for local schools and colleges
  • An outreach programme and educational online resources
  • Support for community use of facilities like the auditorium

Additional local benefits include:

  • Clinical care for local people with neurological diseases and jobs for the local community
  • A £10 million boost to the local economy
  • NHNN outpatient facility and an MRI scanning facility
  • Contributions to local transport, affordable housing and Community Partnership Plans with local charities and organisations

Find out more about how we are supporting the local community

Externally, the development will enhance the biodiversity of the site and improve the green infrastructure surrounding the building.

Environmental benefits:

The new building has been awarded an interim BREEAM Outstanding certification, reflecting a high performance across a number of areas of sustainability – including energy; water; health and wellbeing; materials; waste; and ecology. Less than the top 1% of buildings achieve this certification. Environmental benefits include:

  • Newly created public spaces – including a café and exhibition areas – will be complemented by a range of landscaped areas providing thoroughfares for both walkers and cyclists.
  • Externally, the development will enhance the biodiversity of the site and improve the green infrastructure surrounding the building.

What will the future look like?


Major new investment into shared core technologies, equipment and central services that support collaboration. 


Open plan laboratories designed to be easily reconfigurable so they can adapt to evolving research needs and support future generations in developing breakthrough treatments.


Shared laboratory infrastructure and operations service model, leading to improved efficiency and more time for research.


Balancing our services between on-site and off-site activities to gain the most value from our space.


Combined central service provision to meet the needs of IoN, UK DRI and NHNN requirements.


Provision of an environment that delivers benefits across UCL’s whole neuroscience community.