Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour


About us

Our vision


The Sainsbury Wellcome Centre brings together world-leading neuroscientists driven by a common scientific goal: to understand how neural circuits in the brain give rise to the fundamental processes underpinning behaviour. 

We wish to inspire a culture of bold research, innovation and collaboration between scientists embedded in 14 interdisciplinary experimental research groups accommodated in our new, purpose-designed, seven-storey building located near the main UCL campus in central London. Experimental groups will work closely with theorists at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit located in the same building.

As an integral part of this vision, a core mission of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre is to educate and empower the next generation of scientists to tackle big questions in neuroscience, including a dedicated PhD programme

As part of our public engagement programme, the SWC aims to engage the public with the world of neuroscience research – art installations at street level highlight visual illusions and how our brain processes signals, and a landscaped pocket park, open to the general public, will include projections of stunning neuroscience images. Read about our street displays

Find out more about our Research and our People

Our resources
Research has now commenced and offers an unparalleled research environment through provision of state-of-the-art research laboratories, cutting-edge scientific equipment, technologically-advanced prototyping and fabrication laboratories and custom in-house high-performance computing facilities. Read more about our resources.

Our building
Our building was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and was officially opened in May 2016. The SWC has since won a number of awards, including Major Building Project of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards, as well as both the Project of the Year and Design through Innovation awards at the 2017 RICS Awards.

Download this pdf to read more about how the building came about, the collaboration between the architects and scientists and the rationale behind the design.

Watch this short video about the building. See a time-lapse of the SWC on a summer evening.

We are funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Wellcome. We are located within UCL’s School of Life and Medical Sciences and closely associated with the Faculties of Life Sciences and Brain Sciences

View various press releases dating back since 2008 - including the news story of when UCL was selected as the preferred host for the Centre as well as when Professor John O'Keefe won his Nobel prize. 

Contact us