UCL News


HRH The Princess Royal opens UCL’s new dental institute

13 May 2021

The new UCL Eastman Dental Institute (EDI), complete with state-of-the art teaching and research facilities, has been formally opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

HRH The Princess Royal on visit to the new UCL Eastman Dental Institute

During a visit to the Institute today (Thursday 13 May) The Princess was given a guided tour of UCL’s latest world-class facility, based within UCL Rockefeller building, which will be home to around 350 postgraduates and 60 PhD dental students, along with more than 120 academic, technical and professional services staff.

A further 500+ dentists a year will also use the cutting-edge digital workstations to undertake specialist training as part of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Speaking at the opening Professor Stephen Porter, Director of the EDI, said: “These facilities, together with our highly talented staff will enable the Institute to greatly advance our goal of improving wellbeing of all populations by delivering education and research relevant to oral health care.”

The UCL Eastman Dental Institute (EDI) has moved from Grays Inn Road to University Street at the heart of Bloomsbury, ensuring it remains close to UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital – one of Europe’s largest hospitals specialising in complex oral health care and advanced ear, nose and throat treatments – which relocated to entirely new premises in Huntley Street in 2019.

The investment in the creation of the new EDI’s facilities both in Bloomsbury and the Royal Free Hospital, London, along with the Eastman Dental Hospital by UCLH NHS Foundation Trust totals over £130m - representing one of the greatest investments in education, research and clinical care (relating to oral health) in the world in the past two decades. To formally open the EDI, The Princess unveiled a dated plaque and gave a short speech.

UCL President & Provost Dr Michael Spence said: “We are delighted and incredibly proud to have welcomed Her Royal Highness to open these fantastic new facilities, which befit the world-class achievements and reputation of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute.

“UCL is one of the world’s leading institutions for public health research delivering ground-breaking research locally, nationally and globally which has led to major scientific advancements in the prevention and treatment of disease.

“These state-of-the art teaching and research facilities ensure we continue to provide the very best dental education for our students and ensure our pioneering scientists are able to develop the next generation of dental innovations.”  

In total the new EDI has 90 phantom head (dental manikin) workstations, which allows postgraduates to refine their skills alongside teaching by leaders of the different dental specialities. These spaces also enable postgraduate and CPD students to work in conditions that mimic real-life dental practice.

There are two suites of endodontic microscopes to aid identification of anatomical imperfections and the quick detection of enamel and dentine fractures. 

And new facilities include a state-of-the-art 3D workflow suite, which utilises the latest 3D scanning and computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software to digitally plan the dental restoration of patients. The suite is complemented by computer-aided milling and 3D printing devices, able to create dentures, bridges crowns and implants. 

An open space where peer groups can meet to discuss cases, the day’s teaching and reflections on the impact on practice, is also provided.

Professor David Lomas (UCL Vice-Provost Health) said: “UCL’s great strength in health research, education and enterprise is enriched through close working with our partner hospitals and by bringing our interdisciplinary expertise together.

“The move to the Rockefeller offers the opportunity for EDI to maintain their vital relationship with UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital while enhancing the collaborations between EDI and the rest of UCL Health.

“These fabulous facilities will enable the highest quality specialist teaching and CPD. They will also help UCL to quickly implement research into new oral diseases and provide solutions that will make a genuine difference to peoples’ lives.”

The Princess is Chancellor of the University of London, of which UCL is a member institution.  On arrival she was met by Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, Professor Stephen Porter, along with Professor Wendy Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, University of London, and Sir Kenneth Olisa, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London. 

In the new Eastman Postgraduate Resource Centre, The Princess was also introduced to Professor David Lomas, Professor Mark Emberton (Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UCL) and Professor David Spratt, Head of Education and Professor of Microbial Ecology at UCL Eastman Dental Institute.

Also part of the tour was the Eastman Clinical Investigation Centre (ECIC), a research facility dedicated to clinical and translational research in the field of oral and dental diseases.

Over the last 15 years ECIC studies have attracted more than £6M in research awards and recruited more than 3,000 participants.

The new ECIC has eight fully equipped clinical rooms with disabled access; a biobank with -20°C and -80°C freezers within a dedicated laboratory for the processing and storing of clinical samples; temperature-controlled storage for Investigational Medicinal Products (IMPs); state-of-the-art digital dental imaging equipment including a Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) scanner and ultra-sound scanner; a reception and patient-waiting area.

In 2018 the UCL EDI celebrated its 70th year. The quality of its research has been demonstrated through successive high rankings in UK Government research assessments, high rates of citation of publication in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, innovative and extensive knowledge transfer, the ability to attract staff of international standing and to establish an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Oral Theme. Together with UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital, the EDI provides advanced specialist care to patients with complex orofacial disease. Jointly, the Institute and Hospital have one of the highest concentrations of oral health care specialists in Europe, many being leading experts in their clinical field.



  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at UCL Eastman Dental Institute. Credit: James Tye

Media contact

Henry Killworth

Tel: +44 (0) 7881 833274

E: h.killworth@ucl.ac.uk