UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology develops new initiatives to improve laboratory support

14 October 2020

​​​​​​​To accompany the construction of the new UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (IoN) facility at 256 Grays Inn Road, IoN is developing a number of new initiatives to improve laboratory support.

ION-DRI building

The IoN-DRI transformation team have identified a total of 55 services which have the potential to enhance the operational capabilities of the Institute through ensuring the new infrastructure is used in the most optimal way.

These services span a range of areas, and are grouped into 11 larger initiatives based on the extent to which they are interrelated or share common resources. They propose detailed solutions to challenges like managing waste sustainably, creating transparent and equitable cost management systems and improving accessibility to biospecimen collections.

A key aim of all of the initiatives is to provide the highest quality services possible to complement the way the technologically advanced new environment at Grays Inn Road will operate. At their core, they are designed to support a collaborative, efficient and sustainable way of working.

The IoN-DRI transformation team are co-developing solutions with key members of IoN, representatives from UCL’s central support services and third party suppliers. The initiative designs are being led by IoN’s Lee Stanyer (lab infrastructure) and Kully Sunner (building operations).

Once the planning work has been completed, the team will conduct pilot studies and evaluation activities to confirm that the proposed solutions fulfil the needs of users, can be integrated with other UCL systems, are affordable and meet high level ISD requirements. It is only following these pilot and evaluation stages that a decision will be made around full implementation.

The team are designing the initiatives with the future in mind: the plan is to develop solutions that are highly configurable and able to adapt to changing staff needs and institute requirements.

The initiatives will be implemented across IoN before 2024 where possible, with all new services operational in the new building when the new laboratories are occupied. A number of the initiatives have the potential to be adopted and rolled out across the wider UCL community where this is of value, delivering benefits for the university as a whole.

Professor Mike Hanna, Director of the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said: “With these new approaches and services in development, the transformation provides a unique opportunity to create sustainable models that will support IoN’s research and clinical activities for generations to come. Our aim is to maximise the benefits of the future-focused facility under construction at Grays Inn Road and enhance operational efficiency across the whole of IoN so that we maintain our position as a global leader in pioneering research into neurological conditions.”

Full list of initiatives

  • Asset management and cross-charging: to improve how IoN manages and maintains equipment, ensuring costs are distributed in an equitable way.
  • Waste management: to provide a sustainable and cost-effective solution for managing hazardous and non-hazardous laboratory waste.
  • Biorepository and sample-tracking: to improve how IoN manages biospecimen accessibility, collection, storage and redistribution.
  • Licensing and permissions: to ensure that IoN adheres to scientific licensing requirements and permissions.
  • Delivery logistics: to provide a comprehensive logistics service for the distribution of products within 256 Grays Inn Road.
  • Specialist chemical management: to provide an effective management solution for specialist chemicals, ensuring legal and regulatory compliance. 
  • Laboratory gases: to improve how IoN manages laboratory gases, ensuring costs are distributed in an equitable way. 
  • Sample processing: to improve how IoN manages biospecimen processing. 
  • Core infrastructure services: to provide centralised services that aid laboratory and core facilities. 
  • Cryostore and sample quality control: to improve how IoN manages cryospecimen deposition, storage, quality control testing and redistribution. 
  • Space management: to provide a solution for managing space and technology support systems.