UCL News


Time capsule buried under The Francis Crick Institute

12 October 2011

A time capsule was buried yesterday under the site of The Francis Crick Institute by Francis Crick's daughter Gabrielle.

Time capsule buried under The Francis Crick Institute

The burial at the site in St Pancras and Somers Town in London was witnessed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the science minister David Willetts MP, and the Director and Chief Executive of The Francis Crick Institute Sir Paul Nurse - as well as the CEOs of the project partners.

Following the burial, a signing ceremony took place where King's College London and Imperial College London formally joined the partnership behind The Francis Crick Institute (formally known as UKCMRI). The two universities have now become part of the project to create the world-leading medical research institute in central London founded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and UCL.

The Institute will have a distinctive vision of how medical and scientific research will be conducted. Its work will focus on understanding the underlying causes of health and disease and accelerating discoveries made in the laboratory into the clinic.

The brass capsule, placed 12 metres under the foundations of the Institute, is not expected to be unearthed for decades to come. It contains letters from world-leading scientists, local children's artwork (from St Mary and St Pancras School and Hampden Youth Club), architects' sketchbooks, two biographies of Francis Crick - including David Willetts' personal copy of Matt Ridley's book - as well as photographs and memorabilia.

UCL's contribution to the capsule included a copy of the historical book 'The World of UCL', a DVD with a selection of films (including this year's film shown at all student graduations), a range of recent UCL print publication and copies of 'Pi' and 'London Student' newspapers.

David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, said: "The UK has a proud record of scientific achievement built on the work of great institutions like those involved in The Francis Crick Institute. It's been a great honour to contribute to the time capsule being buried today. The Institute will maintain our country's leading position in biomedical research and help translate the findings into benefits for patients and the economy."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: "London is home to some of the world's foremost scientific and medical institutions, who are responsible for extraordinary innovations that benefit people not just here but across the globe. The impact of the Francis Crick Institute will go well beyond improvements to our health and wellbeing and invaluable job creation. It will keep London and the UK at the forefront of the battle to understand health and disease and further anchor the capital as a world leader in scientific research. I am delighted that the London Development Agency has been able to play an important role in supporting project partners, the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, UCL and the Wellcome Trust, to see this project come to fruition."

Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost, commented: "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 The Francis Crick Institute 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 this Institute's mission and purpose 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 1: (From left) David Willetts MP, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Sir Paul Nurse and Gabrielle Crick. Image 2: The time capsule is lowered into the ground.


The Francis Crick Institute

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Imperial and King's plan to join UKCMRI