UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences


UCL celebrates completion of The Zayed Centre for Research

10 July 2019

Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL were pleased to welcome His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visiting from Abu Dhabi to celebrate the completion of the world’s first centre dedicated to discovering new ways to treat and cure children with rare diseases.


His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited the centre on behalf of his grandmother Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), and the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of the United Arab Emirates.

The centre was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak in 2014 and is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital, UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity that will see hundreds  of clinicians and researchers come together under one roof to advance treatments for children with rare and complex diseases.

His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was present to unveil a plaque at The Zayed Centre for Research, named in honour of his late grandfather. The unveiling marks the completion of the building ahead of patients, researchers and clinicians moving into the centre later this year.

The building includes an advanced suite of cleanrooms for the production of gene therapies, multiple tissue culture rooms for testing potential new treatments, a cardiac research suite with facilities for 3-d modelling as well as an open plan laboratory with 140 laboratory bench positions. The patients this research activity will support will be seen in a 30-room outpatient facility.

Following a tour of The Zayed Centre for Research, a celebratory moment was held with the attendance of His Excellency Mansour Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the UK, and patients from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

On behalf of his grandmother, His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “The work of The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children will facilitate pioneering treatments and cures for children with the aim to accelerate ground-breaking outcomes to benefit more and more children. We are thankful to the Centre for its amazing efforts to protect the wellbeing of future generations.”

His Highness Sheikh Theyab continued: “The late Sheikh Zayed’s vision continues, not by ancestry, but by those who share his values. The Zayed Centre’s ambition and commitment are proof that his legacy is alive and continues to thrive.”

Professor Ros Smyth, (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health) said: “This wonderful new facility will enable us to take forward the research that we do to a new level.  The Zayed Centre for Research will enable us to accelerate the rate that we’re able to cure diseases that are currently uncurable.

“I particularly want to add our thanks to the donors that are represented here and particularly to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her extraordinary kindness in providing such a generous gift. This centre has been made possible by a long and deep partnership between UCL, GOSH and GOSH charity, and of course the patients and their families who we have the great privilege to serve.”

Matthew Shaw, Chief Executive at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) said: “For our patients, many of whom have rare and complex diseases, the Zayed Centre for Research is a beacon of hope for new and better treatments and ultimately cures. It is testament to the power of partnership and its creation would not have been possible without the support  of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. Today is an important milestone in the development of this phenomenal facility.”

The celebration was also attended by Research England, The Wolfson Foundation, John Connolly & Odile Griffith, whose generous support has contributed to the creation of the Zayed Centre for Research.


Media contact 

Rowan Walker

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8515

Email: rowan.walker [at] ucl.ac.uk