UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences


Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children

The Zayed Centre for Research is a world-leading centre of excellence that will enable scientists and clinicians to more accurately diagnose, treat and cure young people with rare diseases.

Rare diseases globally

Rare diseases consist of around 6,000 conditions, including several types of childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. Rare diseases represent a considerable health burden globally:

  • 1 in 17 people are affected at some point in their lives
  • 75% of rare diseases affect children
  • of those, nearly one-third who are diagnosed will die before their fifth birthday.

Rare diseases are currently under-researched and many are undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

The vision for ZCR

The centre will utilise recent advances in science and technology to offer new hope to thousands of children and their families diagnosed with rare diseases. Bringing knowledge, technology and patients together in one place will accelerate the bench to bedside process of developing new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases both nationally and globally.

Through the treatment and cure of thousands of children, the centre will serve as a global research hub, benefitting children and families from around the world. ZCR will bring together the largest concentration of paediatric research and clinical expertise in Europe, the only Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) specialising in child health in the UK and have one of the largest patient cohorts of children with rare diseases in the world.

Working side by side in a purpose-built centre, with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, will accelerate the discovery of new treatments and cures with:

  • more trials and testing
  • a better understanding and reading of genetic codes
  • increased diagnostic capabilities
  • more new gene and cell therapies developed to clinical standards
  • the use of stem cells to regenerate organs and tissues.

Opportunities at the centre

Postgraduate taught and PhD scholarship opportunities at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health can be found on the institute website:


Research England
The cost of the centre has been met by a combination of fundraising led by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and £10m of funding from the Research England UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF). A transformative gift of £60m from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates, was announced by the Charity in July 2014.

Zayed and GOSH