UCL News


Imperial and King's plan to join UKCMRI

14 April 2011


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Imperial College London and King's College London are set to join UCL and the other partners behind the world-leading medical research institute: the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI).

UKCMRI's goal is to understand how living things work and to use that knowledge for the benefit of humanity. It will find ways to prevent and treat diseases affecting people today - including cancers, heart disease and stroke, infectious diseases including influenza, tuberculosis and malaria, disorders of the immune system, and neurodegeneration.

The pioneering laboratories will become a world class facility for medical research with 1,500 staff, strengthening the UK's reputation as a centre for excellence for medical science and helping to maintain the country's competitiveness in science and healthcare.

The institute is being built within the exceptional cluster of biomedical research already carried out in London. It will bring together biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians with some of the UK's leading hospitals to focus in new ways on understanding the underlying causes of health and disease. UKCMRI's neighbours include the British Library and St Pancras International at Somers Town in north London.

Imperial and King's have each signed a Memorandum of Understanding expressing their intent to join the existing partners which include four of the world's leading medical research organisations: the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL . Imperial and King's would each contribute £40 million to the development of the new institute to match UCL's contribution.

Researchers from the academic partners will work with scientists from two of the founders' research institutes, the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (LRI) who have been deeply involved in designing the new laboratories.

The additional funding will enable UKCMRI to do even more, more quickly than would otherwise have been the case. The costs of construction have not changed.

Sir Paul Nurse, the Director and Chief Executive of UKCMRI, said the addition of two more London Russell Group universities would add enormous value: "The involvement of Imperial and King's in the UKCMRI partnership offers the institute even greater scale and breadth of knowledge. It helps to enhance the opportunities for connections, creativity and discovery. This institute will not only carry out the highest quality biomedical research, it will also act to support the entire research endeavour in the UK."

Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost, said: "We warmly welcome Imperial and King's to the fold and regard this as a valuable development. As the founding academic partner we have worked hard in developing UKCMRI from the outset, and we are keen now to widen academic participation to make the most of the huge investment of time, ideas and money that we and our partners have already committed to it. Scientific collaboration across a broad base will be essential to the mission and purpose of UKCMRI and the involvement of other universities is truly welcome. We look forward to developing a strong operational partnership as the underpinning to a truly national institute."

Image: Artist's impression of the planned UKCMRI building. (Credit: Cityscape)

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