UCL News


UCL appoints contractor for world-class neurology centre

2 April 2019

ISG, the global construction services company, has been appointed as UCL’s main contractor to begin pre-construction work for the building of a world-leading neurology centre.


The company will focus on design and procurement for a prestigious research facility that will serve as a hub for the UK Dementia Research Institute and a new home for the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.

The project team is being led by the consultancy Arcadis, which will provide project management, cost management and specialist support services. An existing design team, novated to ISG, will be led by the architectural firm Hawkins/Brown and includes the engineering consultancies Hoare Lea and Ramboll (the former covering mechanical and electrical design, and latter civil and structural engineering).

It is anticipated that building work will begin early in 2020, with completion scheduled for late 2023 in readiness for a process of migration and occupation in 2024. The site, on Gray’s Inn Road, will bring together hundreds of clinicians and researchers from different disciplines to tackle the global health challenges of neurological diseases.

The new development is part of Transforming UCL, a £1.25 billion ten-year programme of investment in UCL’s estate to support the university’s continuing growth. Along with the new neurology centre in King’s Cross, the programme is seeing the creation of new world-class facilities in UCL’s Bloomsbury campus and the construction of UCL East, an entirely new campus in east London, adjacent to the Olympic Park.

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said: “The new site will provide a home to three world-leading organisations: the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, the headquarters and UCL component of the UK Dementia Research Institute, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

“Bringing these three powerhouses together under one roof will create the leading translational neurology research centre in the world, delivering innovative new discoveries and translating these into treatments that improve the health of patients suffering with dementia and other neurological diseases.

“The new site, within minutes of Queen Square, will provide state-of-the-art facilities and enabling technologies, ensuring that our research scientists have the very best chance of discovering new treatments for these devastating diseases.”

The UK Dementia Research Institute, launched in 2016, is headquartered at UCL and brings together world-class academics at six universities across the UK.

Professor Bart De Strooper, UK Dementia Research Institute Director, said: “The UK Dementia Research Institute has been set up to find scientific solutions to one of society’s biggest health challenges. We have a huge knowledge gap in dementia – our mission at the UK Dementia Research Institute is to fill that gap. I see our UCL hub as part of a virtual UK Dementia Research Institute building.”

The project is being designed to BIM Level 2 standards using fully collaborative web-based software, and is targeting BREEAM Excellent, with an aspiration for Outstanding.

The facilities will create a shared, open and collaborative environment for over 500 neuroscience researchers, including a specialist NHS clinical component led by UCLH. The new site will also incorporate space for public engagement, allowing connection to communities and shared progress in finding better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent dementia.

Mel Manku, Partner and Science & Education Lead at Arcadis, said: “Many of us will have known someone who has been affected by neurological and specifically dementia related diseases – it is heart-breaking to see individuals and their families trying to cope with what these diseases throw at them.

“We are extremely privileged and honoured to be leading this project, which will create an environment for collaboration across the spectrum to enable thorough research and translation into therapies for suffering patients, with the hope of developing preventative solutions.

“This facility is critical to achieving these goals and for UCL and the UK to be the leading voice in this area. The need is so significant that temporary facilities have been created as part of a programme of works, to enable the research to continue in the interim.”

Lee Hutchinson, Managing Director for ISG’s Science and Health Business, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the main contractor to design and build UCL’s new world-class facility for neurological research, allowing us to showcase our specialist expertise in this sector.

“At ISG we thrive on fostering innovation and collaboration, and we encourage our people to think differently and deliver smarter environments. We’re proud to be working with UCL again to deliver a science and healthcare facility of exceptional quality. A vital space will be created for scientists, researchers and clinicians of this world-renowned institute, to discover new ways to diagnose, treat and ultimately prevent one of the greatest health challenges of our time.”

Kevin Argent, Deputy Director of UCL Estates & Director of Estates Development, said: “We are pleased to have appointed ISG to work with us to deliver a very special building that sits within our Estates Transformation programme, creating a new research and clinical environment for neurological diseases, where patients, clinicians and academics can come together in a state of the art, collaborative, combined facility for the first time’’.



Artist's impression of new IoN-DRI building



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Mark Greaves

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 9485

E: m.greaves [at] ucl.ac.uk